4 months ago
Back in its May 2009 issue, Esquire published one of the single greatest—and most heartbreaking—pieces of sports journalism, when it profiled the life of former NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich.
He’d been a highly touted QB prospect out of USC, drafted in the first round of the 1991 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Raiders, and was almost immediately installed as the team’s starter.
But it was all for naught; Marinovich’s professional football career flamed out after just two seasons, derailed mainly by heavy drug use and alcohol abuse.
As the New York Times argues, Marinovich has been “held up as a cautionary tale, widely depicted as a victim of his father’s attempt to engineer a star athlete with intense physical training.”
But now a newly sober Marinovich is once again turning heads, donning shoulder pads at the age 48 for the SoCal Coyotes, a World Developmental League team. (Mind you, that’s less than a decade older than Tom Brady.) And all his teammates are fully invested in helping Marinovich stay sober while he’s wearing a Coyotes jersey. They know what’s at stake: A little over a year ago, Marinovich was arrested, naked, in a stranger’s backyard with methamphetamine and marijuana on him.
That said, Marinovich already sounds like a changed man. “One thing I’m letting go of is perfectionism,” he told the Times. “I’m beginning to learn to live with imperfection.”