- David Newton, ESPN Staff Writer
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Next on my worst of the first-round draft picks for the Carolina Panthers goes to a player whose career allegedly was shortened by a recurring and chronic neck stinger. It was later revealed that he had other issues.
Meet No. 2:
Jason Peter, defensive end, first round, No. 14 overall out of Nebraska in 1998: First, Peter was considered undersized (285 pounds) at the time. The Panthers knew that. But what former general manager Marty Hurney and others in the organization insisted they didn't know was that Peter had an addiction to pain medication and drugs. That came out in 2004, three years after Peter's career allegedly ended because of the neck injury. That is when he discussed his addiction on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel." Peter said his addiction began in college when he was given a painkiller to treat a knee injury suffered during his freshman season. He told Gumbel by the time he left Nebraska he was receiving "endless prescriptions" from doctors he would meet at parties. He said that led to harder drugs such as cocaine and Ecstasy while at Carolina. He told "Real Sports" he was taking up to 80 Vicodins a day while with the Panthers. He admittedly got hooked on heroin after football.
Peter was arrested on drunk driving charges while with the Panthers in 1999. Several former teammates admitted after his "Real Sports" interview aired that they knew Peter was abusing drugs while in the NFL.
Peter chronicled his issues in "Hero of the Underground: My Journey Down to Heroin & Back."
He played in 38 games for Carolina, starting 20. He had 7.5 sacks. He was part of one of the worst draft classes in team history as only three of the eight players selected played more than one season in Charlotte.
Next up, No. 1. Can you guess who that is?