Former first-round draft pick Jason Peter only played four seasons in the NFL, but it’s his exploits off the field that are so remarkable.
Peter’s playing-days memoir, Hero of the Underground, will appear in stores next month. But this book deals less with the thrill of victory as much as the thrill of wasting millions of dollars on drugs and sex. It also raises questions about the effectiveness of the NFL’s drug policy, not to mention how Peter could do so much damage to his body and still be alive.
Peter King interviewed the former defensive tackle for SI.COM (via Michael David Smith at FANHOUSE), bluntly opening the dialogue with “I’m shocked you’re still alive.” The former Panther replied, “I am too.”
From the piece:
Vicodin. Ambien. Cocaine. Crack. Heroin. GHB, the date-rape drug. Lots of others I’ve never heard of. He’s not sure if he’s been in rehab six or seven times. He’s blown most of the $6.5 million Carolina paid him over a disappointing, injury-filled NFL career with the Panthers. Nights and weeks with prostitutes so numerous … well, so numerous that his Madame at a high-rolling Manhattan brothel ran out of girls for him.
King’s inquiries were concise and to the point. From the SI.COM piece:
…How did he evade the NFL’s drug policy while he was an occasional user of painkillers and recreational drugs with the Panthers? He didn’t. He got a DWI in his rookie year, and was put into the NFL’s substance-abuse program. But what he was using — Vicodin and other substances that wouldn’t show up dirty in a drug test — made it possible for him to get away with using.
“I don’t think the risk of getting caught is serious enough,” he said. “Now, if you put in a four-year suspension like they have in track for a guy like Justin Gatlin [who got four years for a second doping violation], that would get guys’ attention. But with all the money there is in the NFL, guys are going to do what they have to do to get an edge.”
Playing in the NFL is no enterprise for mere mortals, as Peter’s drug-infested rampage would have killed most normal people. But there’s something fascinating about living through the experiences of near-superhuman people, whether they’re scoring touchdowns or hollowing out an entire Manhattan brothel. This book will be another opportunity to see what these guys see, and maybe understand them a little better at the same time.
The book can be pre-ordered from Peter’s website.