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Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Romanowski admits he crossed a line

Associated Press

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.

 Bill Romanowski

"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 positive?"

"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."

From 1988-03, Romanowski played linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders.

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 this month.

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."