As a kid, Randy Grimes grew up in Waco, Texas. Football was part of everyday life in his hometown, there was a lot of pride in local sports. Everything in his family focused around football, with loving parents and no addiction in his immediate family. It always came easy for Randy, getting a scholarship for basically anywhere he wanted to go.
Next was college, where he chose Baylor as his alma mater. They won the Southwest Conference, Peach Bowl & more. He met his wife at college, at this point he was still playing football non-stop, but yet no drinking or any drugs at this time in his life.
In his professional career, football turned into a job. The skill level increased dramatically in the NFL. He first signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a second-round draft pick. One of the main unspoken rules of the game was to do anything necessary to get back out on the field. That turned into taking handfuls of pain pills at practice, eventually turning into a full-blown addiction. He was also taking handfuls of Benzo’s at night, to make him sleep.
In the late 80’s he would be in the training gym and the doctor would come by each players’ spot, offer them whatever pills they wanted, followed up with 2 beers. This was the norm, so “why rock the boat” was the mentality in the locker room. He talked about “doctor shopping” as a professional athlete, basically giving him a blank check for whatever drugs he needed. He would use multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors to feed his addiction.
His prescription medication use eventually started to get out of control. No one would question why he was slurring his speech, showing up late, and nodding off during meetings. He was still doing his job on the field, so no one thought anything was out of the ordinary. One day, after shoulder surgery in the off-season, Randy had a seizure while on a beach. He was put in the hospital, and they couldn’t find the reason for it. He did his own research, and it turned out it was linked to the Benzo’s he was taking to go to sleep. He knew he had a problem, but didn’t know how to deal with it. His professional career ended in ’92 and was an unexpected and abrupt end to what he thought was going to be a lifetime career. This compounded his addiction dramatically throughout the next decade.
He didn’t really fully deal with this issue until 18 years later, in 2009. His wife moved out, his kids couldn’t stand him and was barred from seeing his newly born grandchild, because of his addiction. He was sleeping on the floor of his vacant house with no utilities, no job, no car, no money. This was the rock bottom that he built back up from. He got into 90-day treatment on September 22nd, 2009.
Since then, he has focused on getting his story out there in hopes of changing other people’s lives for the better. Back when Randy was active in the NFL, there were no resources for addiction and treatment. Because of this, Randy founded Athletes in Recovery, which focuses on other professional athletes that are struggling through the same things. Even through all the hardships, problems, and major championships during his stint in the NFL, tackling recovery was the toughest battle of his life.
And we wrap up with some NFL talk and random questions.
This is Randy Grimes in his own words on Knockin’ Doorz Down.
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