Courson, an offensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1977-85, continues his ``crusade...to tell the truth'' about the use of steroids in the NFL and the crucial need for more research into their long-term effects. Suffering from cardiomyopathy, the 300-pound Courson, a weightlifter and sometime pro wrestler, is currently in need of a heart transplant. He doesn't directly blame his condition on steroid abuse (as does fellow ex-pro Lyle Alzado, stricken with cancer), but believes there is a connection. A ``chemically- augmented athlete'' since 1974, when he indulged in his first Dianabol ``cycle'' at the Univ. of South Carolina, Courson admits to using a wide variety of ``performance-enhancing drugs'' to keep his job and further his career. By 1985, when he went public in a controversial Sports Illustrated article, Courson was injecting four different drugs twice a week. Here, he blasts the NFL for ignoring the problem, for weak drug policies, and for underestimating the extent of steroid use among players. Citing the case of Brian Bosworth, who tested positive prior to signing a lucrative contract, Courson, with the deft aid of editor and columnist Schreiber, makes a strong argument that the NFL rewards the bigger, stronger, faster athlete—regardless of how he got that way. He singles out his former coach at Pittsburgh, Chuck Noll, for turning ``a blind eye to the situation.'' Noll's testimony before a 1989 Senate committee, Courson writes, was ``thoughtless and hypocritical.'' Based on what he now knows, Courson states that if he could relive his life he would not only avoid steroids but would not become a pro-football player. He regrets, he says, ``selling myself out to the system by using drugs to compete.'' Controversial—and, at times, illogical, emotional, and self- serving; but, still, an undeniably poignant, important, and informative salvo in a real war on drugs.
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