Did Lawrence Taylor use a performance enhancing drug?

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Ever see a guy on crack? It’s…scary. Ever have a guy on crack running after you at full speed trying to drag you to the ground? Also…scary.

I watched part of Mark McGuire’s interview with Bob Costas the other night and while I felt a tiny bit bad for his family – the bottom line is, Mark McGuire cheated. He and the other steroid users put a substance into their bodies that enabled them to do things they likely couldn’t have done without it. They cheated.

But after watching for just a few minutes, Bob Costas’ out of control sports knowledge made my mind wander. It wandered until it stumbled upon a question I’ve considered before: did Lawrence Taylor use a performance enhancing drug during his playing days? I think he did. The only real difference between what McGuire did and what Lawrence Taylor did was that they used different performance enhancing drugs. McGuire used steroids and Taylor used cocaine (and eventually crack). Generally, cocaine is not considered a “performance enhancing” drug but for a linebacker in the NFL, I sure think it ought to be.

Lawrence Taylor revolutionized the position of outside linebacker. He was absolutely brutish, reckless, relentless…and he was everywhere. He was incredibly effective. He was easily one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history if not THE greatest. When I was a kid I watched a few Giant games on TV (like the Joe Theisman leg-snap game) -  and I remember the cameras would focus in at times on Taylor’s eyes. Now that I’m older, I realize that his weren’t the eyes of a man feeding off of natural adrenaline but instead the eyes of a guy who was likely hopped up on cocaine.

If there is one position in all sports where a guy could benefit from the use of cocaine or crack, it would be linebacker in the NFL. Taylor was busted twice for using cocaine and crack DURING the season. I can’t claim to know for sure if Taylor was high during games, but considering he was busted more than once, he admitted to using the urine of teammates for drug tests and considering that he played the wild style of football he did, I would say it’s quite likely. So why hasn’t more been made of the possibility that the cocaine/crack use enhanced his play? That it helped him maintain his trademark frenzied style of play? Does he deserve an asterisk or two next to some of his amazing stats? Should he even be in the Hall of Fame?

What do you think?

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7 Responses to “Did Lawrence Taylor use a performance enhancing drug?”

  1. Trav Says:

    It’s an interesting question. On the face of it, I would say that it could have been a factor given how it is a stimulant and reduces fatigue. With that, after prolonged usage, I would doubt that would be able to snort enough and then have it last to make that big of a difference during the game. This would be short of taking constant hits on the sideline instead of Gatorade. I know in my case it made it tough to hit the 3 and Coach Rebholz didn’t like my constant fidgeting during the National Anthem after doing some lines in the varsity locker room. (you know, with all of the coke available in our suburban haven…)

    Kidding aside…I was a huge LT fan in the day, especially when they did clips of him and caught him talking smack. I marveled at how he appeared to be playing at another speed in comparison to the others on the field. “Revolutionized” is absolutely the right word. As these stories about his drug issues materialized way back, it was quite the fall from grace in my eyes. While it doesn’t completely diminish what he did on the field, it does make you skeptical as to how far-reaching it was in his life. It also shows that greatness like that at a particular skill absolutely comes with its trade offs: great playing career – personal life in shambles.

    Just my two cents…

  2. Kozak Says:

    Coke, not likely. It’s very short acting, as commented above, would have needed to be constantly snorting or smoking to keep up the high. Now Meth is another story. One good hit can keep you flying for hours.

  3. Rick Says:

    “Which brings me to my second point, kids. Don’t do crack.” LT in The Waterboy.

  4. 56Coop Says:

    LT has too many teeth to have been a serious crack or meth user. I do agree with Trav & Kozak–too short of a high. May have been using some form of steroids or something — the guy was a beast.

    Many many years ago, when it was called free base instead of crack I dabbled with it a bit. Very hard habit to kick if you get too deep. Hopefully LT’s seen the light of day and is leaving that crap alone. It’s a good way to waste a hell of a lot of miney.

  5. Ron La Canne Says:

    From the 70′s on drugs of one sort or another have been part of the NFL and all other sports. The only difference today is they have the ability to mask their use with other drugs. My evidence: The Williams blimps.

    As much as I hate to say it, there is a probabilty that there are some Packers involved. The players are paid for performance so it is probable they will do anything they can to improve that performance. The system in athletics that even comes close to working is the Olympic system. Does anyone think any Pro Sports Union would agree to that standard? Not a chance!

  6. Joe Says:

    It is a short-lived high but you can take it during the game. Hollywood Henderson put liquified cocaine in a nasal spray bottle and snorted it during a Super Bowl. I would not be surprised to learn that LT did this too.

  7. Enrique Hailes Says:

    steroids could possibly kill you im sure Lt wouldnt take them.

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