For­mer of­fen­sive tackle ad­mits steroid use at MSU in late 1980s

The Detroit News - - Sports - By Eric Lacy

EAST LANS­ING — Tony Man­darich, nearly 20 years af­ter the fact, has ad­mit­ted he used steroids while play­ing foot­ball at Michi­gan State in the late 1980s.

Man­darich, the for­mer MSU of­fen­sive tack­le­whowas se­lect­edNo. 2 over­all in the 1989 NFL draft and de­rided as one of the big­gest draft busts of all time, made the rev­e­la­tion in a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view to be broad­cast on Show­time tonight.

Man­darich’s steroid use at MSU was re­ported by The Detroit News fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in 1989 and 1990.

The re­port, pub­lished in March 1990, quoted for­mer play­ers say­ing Man­darich used steroids, sup­plied other play­ers with them and even gave team­mates steroid in­jec­tions.

Man­darich, whose NFL ca­reer foundered, had al­ways de­nied steroid use.

Mes­sages left Tues­day for Man­darich at his home and busi­ness in Scotts­dale, Ariz., weren’t re­turned. A woman who an­swered the phone at Man­darich’s busi­ness said he was “in meet­ings all day.”

Man­darich ad­mit­ted his steroid use in a twopart in­ter­view with Ar­men Keteyian for “In­side

the NFL” on Show­time.

The first seg­ment will be broad­cast at 9 tonight and fo­cus on his time at Michi­gan State and his early sea­sons in theNFL, Keteyian said.

“It was one of the most com­pelling, dra­matic in­ter­views I’ve ever done,” Keteyian, who grew up in Bloom­field Hills, told The News. “It cov­ers a lot of ter­ri­tory.”

Man­darich told Keteyian he was ad­dicted to pain killers and al­co­hol by the time he en­tered the NFL, and that his ad­dic­tions con­tin­ued dur­ing his four years with the Pack­ers.

Man­darich said he cheated on his drug test prior to the 1988 Rose Bowl, at which MSU beat South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, 20-17. Ge­orge Per­les was MSU’s coach at the time.

Man­darich’s wife, Char Man­darich told The News he still thinks fondly ofMSU, Per­les and the foot­ball pro­gram.

Reached Tues­day by The News, Per­les main­tained no il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity hap­pened dur­ing his ten­ure.

“I would never say any­thing neg­a­tive about one of our play­ers or ex-play­ers, so there’s noth­ing there,” said Per­les, now a school trus­tee. “My only ques­tion: What’s the mo­tive?”

A book, “My Dirty Lit­tle Se­crets — Steroids, Al­co­hol & God — The TonyMan­darich Story,” is sched­uled to be re­leased in March.

Per­les said an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­ducted by uni­ver­sity of­fi­cials more than 20 years ago found no wrong­do­ing. Michi­gan State has no plans to fur­ther in­ves­ti­gate the is­sue based on Man­darich’s in­ter­view.

“It would be reck­less and ir­re­spon­si­ble for me or any­one here to com­ment on an un­seen in­ter­view pro­mot­ing an un­pub­lished book about some­thing that al­legedly hap­pened long ago that al­legedly he and only he knewabout,” saidTer­ryDen­bow, a school spokesman.

Den­bow said he re­called two NCAA-su­per­vised drug tests be­fore the 1988 Rose Bowl that didn’t de­tect steroid use among MSU’s play­ers.

Keteyian said Man­darich de­clined to say if any of his team­mates took steroids.

“I cer­tainly asked him about coach Per­les say­ing, ‘ No, no, no, no’ that he never knew of or was aware of any steroid use,” Keteyian said. “Tony did not dis­pute that. This is a guy that’s been sober now since 1995, he’s a very dif­fer­ent per­son now than the peo­ple at Michi­gan State would re­mem­ber him.

“To use Tony’s words, he’s not out to roll over on any­body,” Keteyian said. “He makes it clear this is not a Jose Canseco nam­ing names book. He’s tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for his ac­tions and he’s not, as best as I un­der­stood it in this in­ter­view, not out­ing any­body else.

“The story about his ad­dic­tion to painkiller­s, which be­gan shortly af­ter he left Michi­gan State and went to Cal­i­for­nia, dwarfs in my mind, the steroid ad­mis­sion. It’s off the charts, as far as the depths of his mis­ery and his drug ad­dic­tion. It was a full blown ad­dic­tion to far­m­grade nar­cotic pain-killers for six years. It an­swers a lot of ques­tions about what hap­pened in Green Bay.”

At a chis­eled 6-foot-6, 315 pounds com­ing out of MSU, Man­darich was hailed as the of­fen­sive line­man of the fu­ture. He got off on the wrong foot with Pack­ers fans, dis­parag­ing Green Bay as a “vil­lage.”

And he was more awk­ward as a player. He didn’t make a start un­til his third sea­son and missed the 1992 sea­son— his last in Green Bay— due to in­jury. Man­darich was out of the NFL un­til mak­ing a come­back with the Colts in 1996. He was a start­ing tackle for most of his three sea­sons and re­tired in 1998. You can reach Eric Lacy at elacy@det­

SI Cover/Sports Il­lus­trated Man of the mo­ment: Tony Man­darich­was on the cover of Sports Il­lus­trated in April 1989, left, in an NFL draft preview, and in Septem­ber 1992, as a Packer.

Scott Halleran/Getty Im­ages Line­man Tony Man­darich of the Pack­ers works out in late April of 1989. He came out of Michi­gan State as a 6-foot-6, 315-pounder.

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