Steroids Were Once Part of The Game

Feb. 13, 2007

By Brian Jones

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Brian Jones is a football analyst for CSTV and
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My thoughts on steroids have changed throughout the years. From junior high to high school to college to the pros, I was always around them. When I was at UCLA and Texas we had guys who would use them and I thought it was an unfair advantage.


But as I got older and went into the NFL and got more educated on how steroids work, I realized that all they do is allow you to recover faster so you can workout more if you choose to. You just don't stick a needle in your butt and all of the sudden you're a super-athlete. That's the misconception most people have about steroids. They allow you to recover, therefore you can go work out longer and harder than your counterparts. You have to bring something to the table.


The thing to remember with professional athletes and steroids is that they're not just getting the stuff you get off the street. They're getting the top-notch, top-dollar, best of breed when it comes to steroids. They're not getting back-alley steroids. But when it comes to kids, they don't have the funds to go out there and get the top-notch stuff. If they are using they have to be cognizant that they may be putting something in their body - and they already know it's not good for you - that may be synthetic or even something that's not a steroid. They might not know what they're getting.


But I don't really see steroids as that big of an advantage. Creatine is the same thing, allowing you to recover fast. I was a big fan of that. I probably got in the best shape of my life using that stuff. But steroids are illegal and, if guys are taking steroids in high school and college, they have to remember that they're body has not finished developing potentially causing some problems, especially with the younger kids.


I don't think steroids are as prevalent in the game today as they were. They were very prevalent in my day and I knew so many guys that were using. I knew guys who would go down to Mexico and get them legally. But I think they've cracked down on them, certainly in the NFL, and in college with all the testing, especially with the random testing that they really started when I was in school. It's more thorough and widespread nowadays than it was. People are much more educated about steroids and about how much damage they can do. 


And you don't really see suspensions, but they could always more random testing in college football. Fortunately, you don't see a big problem in the game these days from steroid use. They could crack down on the supplements these kids take, but I think they're doing pretty much all they can and the kids are more educated these days. But you're always going to have a few knuckleheads who are going to try and get an advantage. They may slip through the cracks, but I think they've done a good job policing the game. They're doing pretty much all they can to curtail the use. 


But during my time in the game I saw plenty of guys doing steroids and HGH. And I used to use amphetamines myself. I was crazy. It felt like your heart was going to jump out of your chest. It's illegal now, but it wasn't back then when we took them. If only I had known how stupid I was for taking that stuff. They can kill you. I can just remember like yesterday how your heart was pumping like crazy. I can't hide from it. We did it. You always had a teammate who was up on steroids. Every team had a team pharmacist who was up on it. They would order it from a company out in California. It was never on the school, always on us.


I've talked to a number of former NFL players and Hall of Fame players last week - and I won't mention any names - but they've told me that they've taken that stuff and all it does is help you recover. If it had been around back in the Johnny Unitas days and the Babe Ruth days they would have taken it too. People are always going to look for an edge.



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