these guys waste no time making even more articles about a subject like this, it was not 15 minutes ago that the reports came out T.O denied the claims, here you go.
[size=15pt]NFL's mental problem[/size]
Dr. Z, SI.com
The NFL never has had much luck in dealing with players with psychological, or to make it stronger, with, psychiatric problems. Then again, the NFL is not in the medical health business. It's in the image business, and when, say, a Barret Robbins or a Dimitrius Underwood or an Alonzo Spellman ... or in this case, a Terrell Owens ... comes along, the league is fairly helpless.
We're still gathering facts about T.O.'s latest. A genuine suicide attempt, a call for help, a complete misunderstanding? Owens denies trying to kill himself, but who knows what really happened? One thing is clear and has been for quite a while: There are major psychiatric issues with this man, and no one quite knows how to deal with them.
I wrote this last year, when T.O. was stirring things up with the Eagles, concerning his contract. A team official told me the whole matter could have been worked out quietly if T.O. hadn't raised such a fuss about it. "If he would have come in quietly, without all this commotion, we could have come to an agreement. We were prepared to. We didn't feel his demand was unreasonable, given the way he came back from his injury last year and the great Super Bowl he had. But when a guy puts a gun to your head, you're only creating more problems if you cave in."
But that wasn't, and isn't, T.O.'s way. Status quo drives him wild. It's as if he can't stand peace and stability. He has to be doing something to create a stir, make waves, getting people fired up, arranging stunts to capture the attention of the press one moment, shutting them down and telling them, "I'm not talking," the next. He is driven. His mood swings are extreme.
Call it a form of bi-polar disorder, borderline schizophrenia, whatever. I'm not a psychiatrist, so I can't put a name to it. But I've had a longtime relationship with psychiatric problems because of a close relative who has had them, and I've seen quite a few people like T.O.
It's tough to feel sorry for him, though, because he has a mean streak to go with everything else. He didn't attack Donovan McNabb or offensive coach Brad Childress until they were at their lowest ebb, at their most vulnerable. Same thing with his quarterback in San Francisco, Jeff Garcia. But that doesn't mean that he's not suffering from something that never really gets addressed.
Spellman and Underwood were both first-round draft choices and defensive linemen. Both were diagnosed with major psychiatric disorders. Underwood didn't stay on his prescribed medication for any decent period. He never played in a regular season game. Spellman, who was more careful about taking his meds, had a decent career but never lasted in football past his 20s.
Robbins, a Raiders center, was scheduled to start in Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Buccaneers, but on Friday night before the game he flipped out and never set foot on a field again. He was diagnosed as bi-polar, compounded with alcohol problems. He admitted that he had major troubles when he went off his meds. He has been in and out of trouble with the law ever since.
Mike Tyson long has been suspected of having serious psychiatric problems. The mood swings, the ferocious behavior at times, contrasted with periods of almost serene reflection. He admitted that he took medication for depression, "and other stuff," but that's as far as he'd go.
The problem with high-profile athletes, such as Tyson and the NFL linemen cited above, is that their meds, while controlling for the most part their psychiatric problems, take a little off their physical prowess. For an athlete who has trained all his life to achieve a certain peak, it's devastating to subject himself to something that will deprive him of that slightest little edge.
This is especially true in performers of explosive types of sports, such as football or boxing. It also applies to artists and musicians, creative people who feel that the meds have a slightly dulling effect. I once asked a psychiatrist, "Which would everyone have preferred, a highly medicated, fully stabilized Vincent Van Gogh, or the Van Gogh of Starry Night?" He admitted to me that the psychiatric community has problems dealing with exceptional people.
Football players at the highest level develop a sense of invincibility, or at least superiority to ordinary citizens. I remember talking to Lawrence Taylor after he bolted from a drug rehab program, which could be compared, in a sense, to psychiatric rehab.
"Definitely not for me," he said. "You'd go into one of those group sessions, and all these losers would be sitting around, and then they'd call on, say, Mrs. Smith and ask her, 'Tell us about your day?' What the hell did I care about her day?"
I'm convinced that T.O. is really in need of treatment right now. Of course, then he might not be the No. 81 you see flashing across your screen on Sundays. But at least we wouldn't have to worry about whether he swallowed handfuls of pain killers.