Jockbeat: The NFL’s Invisible Steroid Problem


It isn’t so much that the use of steroids and performance enhancing drugs in the NFL gets less attention than it does in baseball — it’s more like it’s invisible.

On Wednesday, the Jets announced they had signed Larry Izzo, three-time Pro Bowl linebacker and special teams player for the New England Patriots. The Times covered the acquisition with a generic AP account, while the Post gave it just 275 words.  Only Ohm Youngmisuk in the Daily News provided anything like detail.

Maybe someone should have used a headline like “Jets Acquire Only NFL Player on Balco Prosecution’s Witness List.”

According to court papers filed in February, Izzo is on the government’s witness list in the Barry Bonds. The filing states that in 2003 — a year, you’ll recall, the Patriots won the Super Bowl — Greg Anderson, Barry Bonds’ trainer, provided Izzo with PEDs and showed him how to use them. According to the prosecution, “Mr. Izzo will testify that he was a professional football player and that he first contacted Anderson by phone in approximately January 2003,” and that at Anderson’s request, he submitted a urine sample at Balco.

Well, we can’t be sure exactly what Izzo is going to say, no matter what the feds promise, and he may pull a Frankie Five Angels and say that he just told the feds what they wanted to hear about Michael Corleone. Here’s a guy with three professional championships — more than Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Alex Rodriguez together — and his very obvious Balco tie-in doesn’t merit anyone’s lead story.

With all the delays in the Bonds trail — the original March date to begin jury selection is now delayed  until at least July — Izzo, who has only missed one game since 1999, may miss a game or two if the trial comes up during the season, not to mention that he could be suspended by the NFL for his Balco involvement.


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