Who is the greatest NFL player to abuse drugs?

Through addiction, Lawrence Taylor remained a G.O.A.T

TREVOR JUNT, Evergreen deputy sports editor

Who is the most successful NFL player to abuse drugs? 

This is quite a loaded question. There are many that did drugs during a period of their career and remained highly successful.

For the point of making a point, let’s avoid all PED positives. Purely recreational drugs that players do in their free time to get high, nothing to enhance performance. 

The best NFL player to ever do drugs during their career and remain highly successful is Lawrence Taylor.

Courtesy of Al Bello

Perhaps the greatest defensive player of all time. L.T. was the second overall pick by the New York Giants in 1981. He has nine first-team All-Pro years, 10 Pro Bowl appearances and at the time of his retirement, he was second all-time in sacks with 132.5. He also won the 1981 Defensive Rookie of the Year.

He also received the Defensive Player of the Year Award three times in his career in 1981, 1982 and 1986. L.T. is one of two defensive players of all time to win an NFL MVP which he won in 1986, Alan Page the only other in 1971. L.T. also retired with two Super Bowl rings. L.T. was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1999.

If you know anything about football, you know who Lawrence Taylor is. You also know that he is one of the scariest players of all time. He was known for destroying his opponents and tossing around quarterbacks like rag dolls.

During L.T.’s rookie season, he was introduced to cocaine at a party. He then started smoking an ounce of crack a day regularly by the time he entered his third season.

To avoid positive drug tests, he would use his teammates’ urine and submit that to NFL. 

L.T. remained to do cocaine and crack for the majority of his career, yet he remained a beast on the field and one of the best ever to do it. He said that crack had no effect on his play whatsoever, and truly, the stats back that up. Nothing really slowed him down but injury.

He said in an interview with “60 Minutes” that sometimes he would be in the huddle and instead of thinking about what defensive play was being called, he would look forward to smoking crack after the game.

He was caught by the NFL twice, once in 1987 using a teammate’s urine and the second time he was caught postive with his own urine in 1988. If he got caught once more he would be banned from the League, so L.T. went to rehab for the first time and avoided crack for the last five years of his career, but said that he retired somewhat early so that he could return to his old habit of smoking crack.

He was said to spend more than $1,000 a day on crack and prostitutes.

The day after his last NFL game, L.T. immediately smoked crack. He was arrested once in 1997 for buying crack and twice in 1998 before he decided to go to rehab for a second time.

There isn’t much of a happy ending to this story. L.T. was arrested in 2009 for a hit-and-run, 2011 for patronizing an underage prostitute and in 2017 for a DUI.

Sadly, this story is all too familiar for people with addiction, it takes years to recover. The NFL legend L.T. is no different and has suffered just the same.