NFL Player Recalls How Opioids Came to Dominate His Life
Randy Grimes, a former NFL player with Tampa Bay, spoke recently at the Macomb County OperationRx’s Community in Crisis conference outside of Detroit. Grimes said he started using opioids midway through his career as a center with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1980s and early 1990s. He needed it to ease the pain to play.
“It started with chronic pain to stay on the field so no one could take my position,” he said. “I easily justified the handful of pills I was downing daily. It helped me relax through throbbing joint pain. My pain was getting more severe, and so was my addiction.”
“My addiction progressed to the point where I played my last two years in a blackout. I would play a whole game and have no memory of it. I would have to see what happened later when we watched it.”
After being cut from the NFL after nine seasons, he suffered from depression, a lack of confidence and low self esteem, and “the chronic pain issues were getting worse.”
To get pills to feed his addiction, he said he went “doctor shopping.” He was “blowing money,” losing houses and jobs, crashing cars, and accidentally overdosing.
“I always thought I could control it and would take care of it tomorrow, anything to put it off to the next day,” he said in an interview afterward.
At some point the motive to continue taking opioids wasn’t to get high but “to keep from not getting sick” from withdrawals.
His longtime marriage nearly ended, he said. His wife “realized she could not fix me or love me back to sanity,” he said. She is the one who pushed him into rehab.
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To read more about how Randy Grimes overcame his addiction, please visit the Macomb Daily.