20.04.2019 by

Tony Mandarich Stopped Using Steroids and Starting Abusing Painkillers

Tony Mandarich Stopped Using Steroids and Starting Abusing Painkillers

Tony Mandarich was a collegiate football star when he used anabolic steroids but his success waned in the NFL after he started drinking and abusing narcotic painkillers.

Tony “The Incredible Bulk” Mandarich is probably the biggest bust in the history of the National Football League (NFL). Mandarich was drafted in the 1989 NFL Draft. He was an immediate disappointment whose on-the-field performance had no resemblance to his collegiate success.

And anabolic steroids are clearly to blame. But only because Mandarich made the boneheaded decision to stop using steroids cold turkey when he joined the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.

Tony Mandarich says he never used steroids in the NFL.

“The testing, I felt, was too hard,” Mandarich said in an interview with ESPN sportswriter Jeremy Schaap . “I didn’t want it even talked about, so I just didn’t do them [anabolic steroids].”

Mandarich claimed that he discontinued the use of the muscle-building drugs because he was afraid of failing a drug test. He apparently thought that NFL drug testing was so sophisticated that he was sure to be caught.

At the time, Mandarich thought that steroids accounted for only about 10 percent of his athletic prowess. Mandarich quickly discovered that he was wrong.

In retrospect, Mandarich realized that he had steroids to thank for helping him become an NCAA consensus All-American and one of the best NFL offensive lineman prospects ever.

Sports Illustrated described Mandarich’s abilities upon entering the NFL draft as follows:

“[Mandarich] weighed 330, ran the 40 in 4.65 seconds, did a standing long jump of 10′ 3″, leaped vertically 30″ and bench-pressed 225 pounds an unheard-of 39 times.”

Mandarich’s discontinuation of anabolic steroids was not even the worst thing he could have done. Mandarich replaced his steroid injections with drinking alcohol and taking 40-60 painkillers per day. This was obviously a recipe for disaster.

After 3 disappointing years with the Green Bay Packers, Mandarich quit football in 1992. He eventually returned to play three solid seasons for the Indianapolis Colts between 1996 and 1998 after he stopped drinking and overcame his addiction to painkillers.

Mandarich maintained that he never used anabolic steroids at any point during his time in the NFL. His steroid use allegedly began and ended at Michigan State University.


Smith, M. (April 21, 2019). Tony Mandarich cites steroids, painkillers for his draft bust status. Retrieved from

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