DENVER -- Bill Romanowski says he stayed one step ahead of
the NFL's drug policy during his 16-year career, always taking
nutritional supplements that the league had not yet banned.
"As soon as they found out that something could be tested for,
I stopped taking it. I didn't want that embarrassment, but I pushed
that envelope ethically and morally because if I could take
something that would help me perform better and it wasn't on the
list, I was going to take it," Romanowski said in an interview
published Tuesday in the Rocky Mountain News.
"I had two criteria: Would it hurt me? And would I test
"In the end, there's been some embarrassment at what I had to
deal with," he said.
He said he took supplements because he was "insecure."
He was in Denver this week to promote his role as a prison guard
in "The Longest Yard," an Adam Sandler movie that opens later
Romanowski also is working on a book about his life and
assisting in the development of dietary supplements he says can
help with concussions, which may have hastened his retirement.
In 2001, Douglas County, Colo., prosecutors dropped charges
against Romanowski's wife, Julie, who had faced eight counts of
illegally obtaining the diet drug phentermine for her husband.
Romanowski had been acquitted on related charges the month before.
Investigators said he took phentermine to enhance his play,
while the defense said he took the drug to suppress his appetite
before games. The drug is not banned by the NFL.
In November 2003, the NFL notified Romanowski that he tested
positive for newly discovered steroid THG, or tetrahydrogestrinone.
The Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative has been accused of giving the
steroid to athletes to enhance performance.
"It wasn't about illegal. I was doing things that they couldn't
test for," Romanowski told the Rocky Mountain News. "At the core,
I compromised my integrity to become the best I could be, to
perform at the highest level possible.
"That's the learning experience. If you continue to do the
things that compromise your integrity then what are you?" he said.
"Morally, you get into a bind. What do you want? Is it quality of
life? Do you want to feel good? It was a struggle that I had."