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Erik Ainge on drug use: “I would’ve made Charlie Sheen look like Miss Daisy”

E. Ainge2

We last heard from Jets quarterback Erik Ainge, when he entered drug rehabilitation in August and was placed on the reserved/non-football illness list.

Now eight months sober, he has a remarkable story to tell.  We highly recommend checking out Ainge’s entire interview with Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com.

Ainge says he’s been a drug addict since before high school, with the problem escalating as he got older.  He’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and is speaking out now in an effort to bring awareness to mental health and addiction.

“My addiction is with the hardest of hard drugs — heroin, cocaine and alcohol. During my days of using, I was a really bad drug addict. I would’ve made Charlie Sheen look like Miss Daisy,” Ainge told Cimini.

He said he had a massive painkillers addiction problem before he reached the NFL and was drafted in the fifth round.   The story highlights how tricky the pre-draft process can be.

Did the Jets know about Ainge’s problems before or after the draft?  If they didn’t know, it raises a lot of questions about drug-testing procedures in the league.  If they did tacitly know, it raises questions about whether they did enough to help him.

“I was under the influence pretty much every day, every practice,” Ainge said.  “I mean, I was a drug addict, so it’s not like I stopped using drugs for any reason. Did the Jets know? I don’t know. That’s all they knew me as. I was a drug addict from the first day I stepped foot on the Hofstra campus [site of the team's training base until 2009].”

Early in his Jets career, Ainge was suspended for four games.  At the time, ESPN reported he took a banned diuretic he got from a girlfriend.  Ainge says it was really for Adderall.

In 2009 when he was taking a lot of heroin, Ainge checked into a detox center.  This was unreported at the time.  He held things together enough to keep his spot on the team before going on a two week bender last summer.  He got in trouble with the law.

“It never got reported because the cops were Tennessee fans, and they saw how bad a shape I was in. . . . I was cuffed, but instead of busting me, the cops called somebody in town that knew me,” Ainge said.

Out of rehab, Ainge has been living with his uncle Danny, who is the G.M. of the Boston Celtics.

“I see what kind of man he is, and that’s what I want to be someday,” Ainge said.

It will be an uphill climb for Erik Ainge to get a job with the Jets or probably any NFL team again.   He seems to understand there are bigger goals to achieve.

“As far as my future in football, it remains uncertain,” Ainge said.   “After eight months, I’m just trying to stay clean and be a better person. It’s not like I’m fine and I’m cured and I’m ready to go, gung-ho, back at it. I want this to be the last time that I ever have to try to get clean, and I’m going slowly.”

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44 Responses to “Erik Ainge on drug use: “I would’ve made Charlie Sheen look like Miss Daisy””
  1. hobartbaker says: Mar 29, 2011 3:53 PM

    Stung by the “Miss Daisy” comment, Charlie Sheen went on a drug binge of Herculean proportions and is presently catatonic, with all of his muscles frozen rigid, at an undisclosed location.

  2. winstonhussein says: Mar 29, 2011 3:54 PM

    The Anti-Peyton

  3. phinheads says: Mar 29, 2011 3:55 PM

    as a brother of 2 addicts, this makes me feel good. if he steps on the field sobre I will root for this guy. Unless he’s with the Jets of course. jk lol

  4. vadog says: Mar 29, 2011 4:03 PM

    Addiction is a horrible, horrible illness. I hope that he stays well and sober!!!!!

  5. TurdSandwich says: Mar 29, 2011 4:03 PM

    Let’s hang out, Ainge..

  6. kamdaryda says: Mar 29, 2011 4:06 PM

    The first I heard of this. If this would have been anybody else it would be in the sports media 24 7.

    Damn crack head he should be banned for life the NFL has no place for a low life scum like this Ainge kid.

    Damn that felt good.

  7. asdfasdfdasfadsfv23 says: Mar 29, 2011 4:08 PM

    Best wishes to your rehab, bragging of your former habit ain’t really a good sign!

  8. tednancy says: Mar 29, 2011 4:09 PM

    I have to root for this guy. He sounds like a man who has come to terms with his condition and is realistic about the challenges ahead of him.

    Opiate addiction is a horrific experience.

  9. badfsh says: Mar 29, 2011 4:16 PM

    Make Charlie look like Miss Daisy? Hah, unlikely.

  10. bfridley says: Mar 29, 2011 4:17 PM

    Charlie Sheen scoffs at this accusations…

  11. elyasm says: Mar 29, 2011 4:19 PM

    Yeah, if I got drafted by the Jets I would probably develop a serious drug addiction, as well. No, but seriously, all hating aside, the Jets really suck. No, wait a minute, what I meant to say was that Erik really seems to be approaching this problem the right way and I wish him all the best…



    …Jets suck.

  12. thompgk says: Mar 29, 2011 4:21 PM

    Doesn’t really sound like he is that remorseful about it.

  13. blackglass3 says: Mar 29, 2011 4:21 PM

    It’s very brave of him to open up about that and get help. I imagine the Jets will be cutting him as soon as they can, since they are scum from Ownership down to the jerkoff fan base.

  14. geeeeemen says: Mar 29, 2011 4:22 PM

    I would like to hear your guys’ opinion on addiction. Some might say it is an easy way of being able to rationalize drug use. “Well I have an addiction so what can I do.”
    I’ve never had an addiction, so can someone comment on addiction – is it a real legit thing?

  15. iflounder says: Mar 29, 2011 4:23 PM

    if you’re curios about the nfl player/addict mindset jason peter’s “hero of the underground” is an interesting read.

  16. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Mar 29, 2011 4:26 PM

    I think people would be stunned by the number of athletes addicted to pain killers.

  17. universalcynic says: Mar 29, 2011 4:28 PM

    Now that my friends is honesty.

  18. duanethomas says: Mar 29, 2011 4:29 PM

    Danny Ainge nephew? Sounds like Andy Reid’s son…goodluck to him. This highlights the travesty of the draft interview/background process. Bi-polar, doing drugs since 12, tatoo across the back saying “crazy white boy”…None of this was detected in the process…go~figure.

  19. granadafan says: Mar 29, 2011 4:39 PM

    If the lousy cops had actually done their jobs in Knoxville and arrested Ainge, maybe he would have had his wakeup call much much earlier in his career. Shame on the cops. Shame on the “University” of Tennessee for looking the other way and not helping him and running sham drug testing (Hey, as long as he produces, right?). Shame on the NFL and Jets for turning a blind eye.

    There are NO excuses for his team or the organizations for letting him get high every day. They knew but looked the other way. What if he had killed someone driving while high?

  20. nepatriots128154 says: Mar 29, 2011 4:39 PM

    I’m glad that he is better, but I wish he could have stopped his uncle from trading Kendrick Perkins. We don’t like the new Celtics

  21. thefiesty1 says: Mar 29, 2011 4:45 PM

    Too bad he went down that road. He had some talent and drugs killed it. Good luck on the road to recovery. Uncle Danny can help, but I’d expect a relapse in the not to distant future.

  22. thevikes85 says: Mar 29, 2011 4:59 PM

    Charlie Sheen is a moron and if you like him,so are you.Good luck with the rehab have known a few people go through these types of problems its not easy,keep your head up.

  23. tednancy says: Mar 29, 2011 5:02 PM

    geeeemen:

    Yeah, addiction is the real deal. Especially opiate addiction. Prolonged opiate abuse changes the way the brain functions, perhaps permanently. While abuse may initially be a choice, addiction isn’t.

    Most opiate addicts choose not between being high or being sober, but rather between being functional or being incredibly sick.

    An addict looks at a healthy person with envy, wishing he could live in his own head like every one else does and takes for granted.

    It’s a horrible disease, and guys like Ainge deserve our support for really trying to live clean lives without the coping power of drugs.

  24. skolvikes1 says: Mar 29, 2011 5:13 PM

    At least he’s winning now. Hope he gets better.

  25. ctgiant says: Mar 29, 2011 5:16 PM

    GEEEEEEEEEEEEEEmen: Yes, it’s a deadly disease as defined by the AMA. It affects one’s mind, body and spirit, and all three need to be addressed, to arrest it.
    Since many don’t understand addiction, and how someone who repeatedly does something over & over again, even against there own will!
    Whether it is cigarettes;food;anorexia;sex or the obvious, drugs & alcohol, they are indeed addictions which need constant, daily treatment.
    I know, I’ve be sober a long time, and the hard part is changing your mindset, everyday, or one day, this Disease of the mind, will tell ya, “yeah, just one time, it won’t hurt”. BANG your off the hook again! THE result, is DEATH. I truly wish him well. CT.

  26. stairwayto7 says: Mar 29, 2011 5:18 PM

    Nice backround check Jet organization! No wonder he got into Tennessee!

  27. androk23 says: Mar 29, 2011 5:23 PM

    If he was able to get drafted in the 5th round and stick with all team all while being drugged out, makes one wonder what he might’ve accomplished sober.

  28. marinephinfan says: Mar 29, 2011 5:44 PM

    LMFAO!! The comments on this story are too funny. “Addiction is a horrible disease”…”He’s brave”…blah…blah…blah! This society has turned into a bunch of retarded babies.

    Do you all want to know the cure for addiction?

    STOP! Stop snorting, or drinking, or smoking, or injecting.

    Simple as that. lol…I can’t believe all the crap people believe nowadays. All of the spoonfed, blame something or somebody else for your problems. “I’m a good person, it’s the booze, drugs, poverty, media, mommy, daddy, ect etc etc fault that I am the way I am!”

  29. fordwuzanazi says: Mar 29, 2011 5:52 PM

    I wonder if Jamal Lewis or Tee Martin would have gotten the same treatment from the Tennessee fan policemen.

  30. denverhighrize says: Mar 29, 2011 5:52 PM

    As a recovering addict myself it was good to hear where his focus is. He understands you are never fully recovered and there is always a risk to relapse. For those that have never had an addiction it would seem an excuse and that these abusers really only suffer from self-control problems. I wish it were that simple and I wish Eric the best. You don’t just quit a habit, you quit friends and a life as well. God Bless!

  31. whatswiththehate says: Mar 29, 2011 5:53 PM

    “kamdaryda says:
    Mar 29, 2011 4:06 PM
    The first I heard of this. If this would have been anybody else it would be in the sports media 24 7.”

    This article is really all levels of irony considering how the sports media is treating Cam Newton… but nevermind…Erik is three shades to light and had all kinds of twisted excuses made for him why he was never kicked out.

    But, he did answer my question as to why it seems as if there is a direct hot-line link between the police and sports media as far as the black athletes are concerned andnot the whites. It’s that inside connection he so nicely bragged…Sounds like Ben Rothleisburger.

  32. ninjaneer74 says: Mar 29, 2011 6:07 PM

    “As far as my future in football, it remains uncertain,” Ainge said. “After eight months, I’m just trying to stay clean and be a better person. It’s not like I’m fine and I’m cured and I’m ready to go, gung-ho, back at it. I want this to be the last time that I ever have to try to get clean, and I’m going slowly.”

    This is the right attitude. God bless him. I hope he stays the course and becomes a better person for it.

  33. randolph32 says: Mar 29, 2011 6:25 PM

    I’d imagine he spent enough money on drugs to pay for Dez’ jewelry purchases….just sayin

  34. hawkeye6 says: Mar 29, 2011 6:32 PM

    I love how people’s hatred for this New York Jets franchise influences their comments towards this article. Had he been a Miami Dolphin (Ronnie Brown DUI) and sought help, some of the comments above wouldn’t be so juvenile.

    Having said that, I hope Ainge, and everyone else who has an addiction, seeks help and fixes their lives before they kill themselves or someone else.

  35. ny82jy says: Mar 29, 2011 6:45 PM

    @marinephinfan

    Are you really that ignorant about drugs and the effects they have on people. I watched one of my closest friends battle drug addiction for years and let me tell you you can’t just stop like you say. Addiction takes over your mind and body, People who are real addicts get extremely sick and some can even die from withdrawal. Try educating yourself , if it was so easy to quit there would he no such thing as addicts. I still am just amazed that you could really believe that it’s that easy to stop. Then again you are a ignorant dolf*ags fan so I really shouldn’t be surprised. Get a clue wake up!!

  36. bhindenemylines says: Mar 29, 2011 7:27 PM

    So if Dez comes out and says he’s bi-polar and addicted to drugs & alcohol and he can’t control his spending habits (which is actually a real symptom of bi-polar disorder, I had a friend go through it, people who suffer from BP spend when they are in the manic phase) then do all the haters start giving him as much love as Ainge?

    I mean after all, addition is addiction, right?

    Shouldn’t matter what team the guy plays for, right?

  37. sasquash69 says: Mar 29, 2011 7:55 PM

    Although I hate his uncle, I will pray that this young man gets his life together. Addiction is as real as anything. Even more so when you talk about the drugs he was putting in his body. I only hope he takes it minute by minute, one day at a time. Good luck young man.

  38. KIR says: Mar 29, 2011 7:57 PM

    Let’s see if Jolly get the same compassion as Erik Anige the next time a post comes up about his drug use.

  39. elyasm says: Mar 29, 2011 8:02 PM

    bhindenemylines says: Mar 29, 2011 7:27 PM

    ….

    I mean after all, addition is addiction, right?

    ——————————————-

    Tell me about it, once the teachers showed me that any two numbers could be added together, I couldn’t stop. I would add the numbers on the clock, I started adding all the numbers on the dash of my car, day after day it went on and on, all I could think about was where I could score my next fix of numbers to add together. Luckily, with professional guidance and years of therapy, I was able to subtract my addition addiction from my life.

  40. dvnelson72 says: Mar 29, 2011 8:35 PM

    serious comment: good luck kid. I’ll root for you if you step on the field.

    tongue in cheeck comment: cocaine is a hell of a drug

  41. w3726674356374574352734567 says: Mar 29, 2011 8:37 PM

    he’s obviously never partied with Sheen before.

  42. espnfeedback says: Mar 29, 2011 8:48 PM

    I gotta go and check PFW’s Nolan Narwocki’s
    old pre draft analysis of Ainge when he came out of Tennessee. Because if Narwocki can spend 10 mins with Cam Newton and perform a full on Sigmund Freud cipher of Every emotional flaw in Newton from his total direspect for authourity to his fake smiles(WOW!)

    I am SURE he spotted the signs of a strung out heroin, percocet, marajuana, meth addict….RIGHT?

  43. hendersonshane says: Mar 29, 2011 8:51 PM

    STAYING SOBER = WINNING

  44. doe22us says: Mar 30, 2011 1:01 AM

    This dude apparently doest know who Charlie Sheen is heck i dont even know he played football what a loser

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