Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tony Mandarich Owns It...After the Fact

In this week's Sports Illustrated, Rick Telander, follows up on the Tony Mandarich cover story he wrote in 1989. Mandarich comes clean and admits to steroid and HGH use back in the day both while playing in the NFL and college football for the Michigan State Spartans (MSU). He also admits being hooked on painkillers throughout his NFL careear. All of this is detailed in his book, My Dirty Little Secrets-Steroids, Alcohol and Painkillers: The Tony Mandarich Story.

It was primarily Mandarich's size and SI's initial coverage that led NFL scouts to drool over him at the 1989 NFL Draft where the Green Bay Packers selected him second, ahead of Barry Sanders, Derek Thomas and Deion Sanders. He lasted three years with the Pack, considered one of the biggest busts until Ryan Leaf hit the 1998 draft and redefined the word.

Mandarich in his book alleges that 15 members of the MSU Rose Bowl squad were on the juice. Similar to the crisis in baseball where no one knew that anyone was using roids, the former coach at MSU, George Perles, has a similar recollection: "I wouldn't know about steroids. The NCAA did all the testing. They're the ones you should talk to." Perles is now a member of the school's board of trustees.

In the article, Tony states how he essentially created the Whizzinator in eluding the NCAA from detection after roiding up before the 1988 Rose Bowl. Per Mandarich: "[For] the Rose Bowl in 1988, we were tested two weeks before on campus, and then we heard there was going to be a second test [in Pasadena]. I'd already gotten back on Anadrol-50 (brand name for oxymetholone), a steroid which makes you significantly stronger within a day or two, and now I'm freaking. I'm in this large 24-hour store, about midnight, brainstorming, thinking how am I going to beat this test?

"In the pet area I see this rubber doggy squeaker toy. I get that, then I go to another area and get a small hose, and in the medical area I get some flesh-colored tape. I'm like the Unabomber getting supplies. Back home I rip the squeakers out of the toy, tape the hose into one end and experiment by filling the thing with water. At the Rose Bowl I taped the toy to my back, ran the hose between my butt cheeks, taped the end to my penis, and covered the hose tip with bubble gum. I had gotten some clean urine from somebody else. The tester stood behind me, couldn't see anything, and when I removed the gum everything worked fine."

Mandarich improved upon his Rose Bowl invention at the Gator Bowl the following year by customizing a squeezable glue bottle to replace the doggy toy. "A quarter twist of the cap, no leak, no moving parts—it was almost too easy," he says.

At least Tony is being honest now. Let's ignore for the moment that he lied all throughout his career and as recently as 2003 when he was quoted in article as not living up to the expectations on the football field. I'm sure this admission had nothing to do with selling a book.

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