Montee Ball was a big-time prospect out of Wisconsin. He once set the NCAA record for career rushing touchdowns, and was eventually taken in the second round of the 2013 draft. Unfortunately, he’s been out of the league for a few years now as a result of off-field incidents.
One of the main reasons his career has been cut short was alcoholism. Ball opened up about his issues to Sporting News, saying he used to get drunk four times a week.
“I started to drink a lot more and it started to pour into football,” Ball said. “If I knew we had a super-easy practice the next day, I’d go out and get drunk with a whole bunch of people. I’d wake up drunk, hit the steam room and go to practice.”
Ball openly admits he took for granted what a privilege it was to play in the NFL. He didn’t take his career seriously, and it ultimately led him to being cut by the Broncos, and waived by the Patriots.
“I wouldn’t take any of it seriously,” Ball said. “I was naive enough to think my playing days would last forever. I would literally sit in the back of the room texting or being on Instagram not paying attention to the professional explaining to me about preparing for life after football and how important it is.
The opportunities were there for Ball to have success, but he didn’t take advantage of them. He said his running back coach told him he could smell alcohol on his breath, and help was available. “I didn’t listen to him,” Ball said.
His tumultuous and brief tenure in the NFL culminated in him being forced to watch Super Bowl 50 from jail after he was arrested on a felony battery charge. The team that won it, of course, was the one Ball used to play for: the Broncos.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” he said. “At one point, I was on top of the world and now watching the team that cut me a few months prior from a jail cell, that stung a lot.”
Ball isn’t likely to return to the NFL, but he’s not giving up entirely. He’s back at Wisconsin taking classes, hoping to make up for the mistakes he made in the NFL.