Jets' Ainge recovering from drug abuse
NEW YORK (AP)
Quarterback Erik Ainge, drafted by the Jets in 2008 as a talented project, appears to have completely sabotaged his NFL potential, detailing his drug and alcohol use, the New York Post reported Wednesday.
Ainge, who never appeared in a game for the Jets, told ESPN that he was high most of the time while at work with the team.
The 24-year-old nephew of the former NBA star and current Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said he has been sober for nine months, since he failed to report to the Jets' training camp last July — the longest he has gone sober since he was 11.
Ainge, who said he suffers from bipolar disorder, added that he started using cannabis when he was 12 and eventually graduated to prescription meds, alcohol, cocaine and even heroin. By his senior year at Tennessee, he said he was addicted to painkillers.
Ainge, who said he "would've made Charlie Sheen look like Miss Daisy," missed the entire 2010 season because he went on a two-week partying spree before training camp and checked himself into a rehab facility.
"I'm a drug addict," Ainge said. "I was in denial for a long time, but that's who I am. My addiction is with the hardest of hard drugs — heroin, cocaine and alcohol. During my days of using, I was a really bad drug addict."
He said his addiction to painkillers led to more drugs when he came to New York.
"I moved up to New York with a bunch of money, and it was where everything started falling apart," he said. "My drug problem went from bad to worse. Most of my rookie year, it was painkillers — and lots of them. I was taking 25 Percocets at a time. I was under the influence pretty much every day, every practice. Did the Jets know? I don't know. That's all they knew me as."
The Jets had no comment on Ainge's situation. Because he is a part of the NFL's substance-abuse program, there are confidentiality rules in place.