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Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Ray Lucas bares addiction on Facebook

By Tim Graham

A public confession wasn't enough for Ray Lucas. He wants people to know the wicked details of what it's like to deal with addiction.

Ray Lucas
Former NFL QB Ray Lucas played in 53 games over six seasons. He threw 18 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions for a career passer rating of 74.3.
Lucas developed an addiction to painkillers while coping with injuries suffered while playing for three AFC East teams. He has checked into a rehab facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., and is posting a daily journal of his recovery on Facebook.

Lucas had neck surgery in September in an attempt to alleviate chronic pain. Before the operation, New York Daily News reporter Michael O'Keefe wrote about Lucas' plight in a story headlined "King of Pain."

After six seasons with the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, Lucas battled intense headaches, back spasms, sciatica, depression and an addiction that drained his NFL bankroll.

September's neck surgery was performed by Pain Alternatives, Solutions and Treatments (PAST). The New Jersey medical group reportedly has done nearly $2 million in pro bono surgeries for uninsured former athletes. Treatment also includes chiropractic care, counseling and -- at least in Lucas' case -- drug recovery.

Lucas spent Super Bowl week in the Metroplex. The ESPN 1050 and SNY-TV host worked Radio Row, conducted interviews about the big game, and shared his thoughts on assorted NFL issues.

He then went straight to Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches for treatment. He traveled with PAST director Jennifer Smith and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Randy Grimes, who has gone through painkiller recovery. An ESPN-commissioned study showed retired NFL players misuse painkillers at a rate of 4-to-1 compared to the general public.

Lucas took a lot of hits because of his scrambling style of play. He wasn't drafted out of Rutgers, but Bill Parcells kept him around as a special-teams player for the Patriots in 1996. Lucas migrated with Parcells to the Jets and had his most memorable year. In 1999, he went 6-3 as a starter and completed 59 percent of his passes for 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown.

Lucas has provided four Facebook updates so far. Here they are, unedited (aside from a profanity):

Saturday: "At the airport in Dallas with Randy Grimes & Jen Smith heading to BHOP to start treatment for my pain killer addiction that was caused by my NFL injuries . I am s------- in pants. I can't beleive it is time. Monday I was ready to go but now that I have to go I can't leave cause Randy Grimes will tackle me & i and my wife would kill me . Ready to board. Follow my journey through the process on FB . More later ."

Saturday: "I arrived in Fla.Randy tells me not to be nervous but that is impossible I am in the car on my way to BHOP/Seaside. Nervous about everything, my palms are sweating. This weather will be good for my body. Got a text from my mom she & my family are relieved I am here. I am on my way to start my life over. Can't believe all the FB responses already its a good sign & the support is needed."

Monday: "The end of day 2 detox. The symptoms of detox are taking hold ,I am in a lot of pain & everything hurts.This gets me scared. This place is amazing, having another player, Randy Grimes, who has been through it by my side is a difference maker. Today in a session for the first time in my life I was dealing with the emotional impact of my departure from the NFL .This is the start of the fight & I AM WILLING TO FIGHT!"

Tuesday: "Day 3 of detox was filled with a lot of anxiety. I was moved from the detox unit into the Seaside condos to start full days of various therapy sessions, group meetings & other treatment. I am nervous & feeling on edge. I met my therapist, it was a very emotional time a lot of feelings coming to the surface . I am drained. More later. Thanks everyone for the support."