Series looks at lives of former NFL players Print
Written by Admin   
Sunday, 17 November 2013 08:35
NFL Headline News

 As a former NFL quarterback, Ray Lucas was used to having a plan and carrying it out.
A few years ago, this was his plan: He would wait for a Sunday morning while his wife and daughters went to church, then drive to the George Washington Bridge, crank the wheel over and drive off the side.
''Until very recently, I was making plans to end it,'' Lucas says in the first episode of ''Casualties of the Gridiron'' an online documentary series from GQ that goes live Monday morning on GQ.com and the Conde Nast Youtube page.
That emotional gut punch is just one of many in the eight episodes of about 10 minutes each. New episodes will come out every Monday and Thursday before the series wraps on Dec. 18.
''It's very haunting. I think after you watch an episode, it really stays with you,'' said Dawn Ostroff, the President of Conde Nast Entertainment. ''My hope is that people will see it so they can feel compassion in their hearts for what these men were going through.''
Isaac Solotaroff is the documentary's director and executive producer, with co-director Jesse Handsher and executive producer Jennifer Smith. Among the difficult moments they captured is when former linebacker Terry Tautolo finds himself in an old 49ers team photo, pointing out Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott before he identifies himself. Then he explains how he found himself homeless.
His former UCLA teammate from the 1970s, Brent Boyd, makes an appearance in archival footage testifying before Congress. Then he's right there on camera, explaining how his life might have turned out different if he knew then what he knows now.
''I graduated UCLA with honors and was accepted to law school,'' Boyd said. ''But my dream had always been to be an NFL player.''
The next time we see him, he's with a clinician, struggling to name more than a half-dozen or so words that begin with the letter B. Boyd then explains that he has moved in with his 24-year-old son.
''We've kind of reversed roles,'' Boyd says. ''He's taking care of Dad now.''
The series shows plenty of moments of hope, too. Jen Smith is a constant presence as the do-it-all director of player programs for PAST, an organization that helps former players get treatment for physical and mental issues, manage pain and addiction, and generally improve their quality of life.
She was the one Lucas reached out to when he was contemplating suicide.
Smith said in an interview with The Associated Press that she picked up the phone one summer day and heard ''My name is Ray Lucas. Somebody gave me your phone number, and I'm going to drive off the George Washington Bridge on Sunday.''
Smith, who has been working with former NFL players for years, said that suicidal thoughts and tendencies are more common than not among former players. As is addiction, which frequently happens when players without insurance turn to pills to manage chronic pain issues.
She got Lucas the help he needed, and now he's working side by side with her at PAST, which stands for Pain Alternatives, Solutions and Treatments, where former players gather once a month or so to discuss their issues among each other.
''Peer group kind of gives them an avenue of speaking the truth, speaking from the heart, and not worrying,'' Lucas said. ''Every time that I've had a peer group with these guys, I've taken something out of it for myself. You can call it the word `sharing' so to speak. They're not going to be judged.''
Lucas often runs these sessions himself. He gets as much help out of it as anyone, and it seems apparent in the footage of him and Smith helping other players out with their problems.
As encouraging as some of these moments can be, there's always another reminder that there are more players out there in need of help.
''I think what this show is designed to do is to provide a real-life glimpse into this,'' Smith said. ''While this is challenging and hard, there's some hope and some positives that are in all this. I think it's important for the public to see this.''
---
Online: http://video.gq.com/series/casualties-of-the-gridiron
---
Follow Rick Freeman on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/RWFreeman
 

NFL Team Pages

Recent NFL Discussions

Top NFL Public Bets

#1 485 San Francisco 49ers 84%
#2 491 San Diego Chargers 83%
#3 480 Kansas City Chiefs 82%
#4 463 New Orleans Saints 72%
#5 488 Denver Broncos 70%
#6 475 Buffalo Bills 69%
#7 473 Cincinnati Bengals 67%
#8 469 Jacksonville Jaguars 67%
#9 490 Detroit Lions 65%
#10 481 New England Patriots 64%
View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

NFL Futures

NFL TEAM CONFERENCE ODDS CURRENT
DENVER BRONCOS 9/4
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 3/1
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 15/4
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 4/1
GREEN BAY PACKERS 15/2
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 8/1
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 8/1
CHICAGO BEARS 10/1
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 12/1
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 14/1
View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on TheSpread.com website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: TheSpread.com is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.

©1999-2013 TheSpread.com