Adam Archuleta describes how football made him “miserable”


The Washington Post wrote a story about former Redskins safety Adam Archuleta, and the way he’s working to polish his broadcasting skills for a second career.

But the fascinating part of the report may be Archuleta’s openness about how unhappy he was during his playing days, despite the fame and riches that came from the sport. The 34-year-old former safety said he allowed his play to define his worth as a person, which left him searching.

“There was a time when that’s all I was,” Archuleta said. “And ultimately I don’t think that’s a very satisfying place to be. It wasn’t for me, anyway.”

He once signed a six-year, $30 million contract that made him the highest-paid safety in the game. But that didn’t buy him any peace of mind in Washington, where his play declined and he succumbed to the pressure of living up to expectations.

That pressure was quickly taken out on his family, and Archuleta called himself a “miserable dredge of a person.”

“It was like life or death, and when things weren’t going well, I took it like I was dying,” he said. “I fought so hard and was so depressed and messed up that it changed me as a person. It took me a few years to realize that there is more to life.”

The good news for Archuleta is that he’s finding an outlet now. For too many players, the end of their playing careers also comes with the end of the only structure they’ve ever known as adults.

The NFL life is regimented to the minute, and too many aren’t prepared for what happens when the clock hits zero for the last time. The good news is Archuleta sounds like he’s on his way to finding something that validates him beyond the contract or the scoreboard.

31 responses to “Adam Archuleta describes how football made him “miserable”

  1. He was a 30 million dollar special teams player thats just about the best job in the world…

  2. It’s not football that did that to Archuletta. That happens to many in many different occupations. The working world can be humbling. But I guess that is especially true for football players, who are glorified from Pop Warner, to High School, to College, to the NFL. You are the best of the best until . . . . you aren’t.

  3. As a Redskins fan, football was miserable for me too (everytime Archuletta stepped on the field)

  4. I guess playing for the redskins would have me wondering about my self worth as well

  5. I remember wishing the Broncos got him in that draft a long long time ago. He was in AWSOME condition coming out of college..I could have sworn the Rams drafted him, just a pick or 2 before Denver was on the clock. He was a decent player though…

  6. 30 Million for Archuleta to play football and he’s miserable. Lots of us wish we were as miserable as Adam Archuleta….still amazed that Snyder kept Vinny Cerrato so long.

  7. I did the Archuleta workout and my moustache fell off. I will never forgive Vinny Ceratto and Gregg Williams for signing off on the decision to let Clark walk to sign this joker and wasting a season in Mr. Sean Taylor’s career brother.

  8. footbal1q says: Jun 23, 2012 9:53 AM

    He was a 30 million dollar special teams player thats just about the best job in the world…

    Couldn’t have put it better myself. Don’t forget that he was a interception machine in madden football.

  9. Playing any professional sport can draining because fan place such huge expectations pm them because of the amount of money they make. We need to give them a break it’s not our money.

  10. He was easily the best member of the Rams 2001 draft class. The “problem” with Archuleta was safeties who hit like that don’t tend to have very long careers. If I remember correctly, his neck was already messed up by the time he left St. Louis and it was clear the tank was running dry quickly.

    For ‘Skin fans I wouldn’t say Archuleta “stole” 30 million. It’s not stealing when an idiot is giving away money.

  11. Archuletta had the optoion of walking away from that $30 million any time he wanted to.

    Nobody put a gun to his head and told him to play football or else.

    I’m tired of these guys whining about what playing football did to their lives; they could have walked away from the money and the glamor any time they wanted to, and joined the rest of us working shleps.

  12. Just for old time’s sake, you should note that Adam is(was) a financial stakeholder in

    Hell, maybe that contributed to his misery!

  13. For a lot of people, their profession is a huge part of the self-identity. If being able to be in that profession comes to a sudden end, a person can find it extremely difficult to deal with. Many in those circumstances can become depressed, with tragic consequences if they don’t get help/find a new purpose for their lives. I really think this had a lot to do with the Junior Seau tragedy.

  14. He was an obsessive person. Always seemed to want to b the best. When he wasnt he tortured himself. Ever c his workout video? Crazy

  15. We are not entering the era of the sensitive introspective player. Listen, I am as empathetic as anyone when it comes to player safety, post-concussion syndrome, former player disability, etc. But, when the whining becomes about what everyone else deals with every day of their lives, these guys just need to shut-up.

    Yes, many of us are defined by our jobs, yes we struggle for self-worth. The only difference is the majority of us man-up, put our heads down and keep grinding. Archuletta just became my least favorite player of all time…and that’s saying something.

  16. Oh boofriggenhoo crybaby. Let’s see how miserable you would have been working a 9-5 behind a desk. Crybaby athletes

  17. Oh, Jesus Christ. When will these idiots just shut the hell up and realize they have lived a dream their entire lives. Get paid millions to play a childs game. Yeah, has to be “miserable”. The onlt people that say “money don’t solve everything” are the people that have never been dirt poor.

  18. For $30 milliion I would put up with being regimented for a few years. I can’t believe what crybabys these players are, when all they have to do is put the money in the bank and they’ll be set up for life once they’re career is over, at a still young age, relatively speaking.

  19. Can we get Darin Gantt off of the Redskins beat? He just steals stories from other outlets and he has no objectivity in covering the team. He’s rehashing stories from 12 and 6 years ago. He reports rumors and propaganda with no shred of proof.

  20. I give him props, sure he loved the money but he’s not being a cry baby…. All he’s saying is that he didn’t enjoy football like he should have. Just because you get paid a lot of money doesn’t mean you like your job…. That’s all he’s saying.

  21. “The 34-year-old former safety said he allowed his play to define his worth as a person”

    Sounds like he made himself miserable, not football.

  22. Look. Real talk ….I’m broke…..I would play safety, wash coaches car, cut the grass on the football field and clean the restrooms at Fed Ex for $30 million….Adam, what are you talking about..???

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