New York Giants All-Pro linebacker Lawrence Taylor isn't concerned about what will happen to him immediately after his suspension for failing a drug test.
"But I'm worried about what's going to happen to me the rest of my life unless I get myself straight. That's what I'm worried about," Taylor said Wednesday night in an interview with WVIT-TV sportscaster Beasley Reece, a former teammate.They were Taylor's first public comments since Monday when he was suspended for a minimum of 30 days by the NFL and ordered to undergo rehabilitation.
"Hell, I'll still be alive 30 days from now, hopefully. I'll still be able to walk out here and breath the fresh air and hold my head up," Taylor said in the emotional live interview.
Taylor, a seven-time All-Pro who has been one of football's dominant players this decade, said he weakened as training camp wore on and gave in three weeks ago to the urge to take drugs again.
"God, I didn't mean for it to happen. I wish it hadn't, but I did make a bad decision and I'll pay the price for it,"
"I really worked hard this off-season to get myself physically ready to play, mentally ready to play ball. I wasn't drinking as much. I wasn't going out as much. During the beginning of training camp, if I went out I would have Perrier and stuff like that.
"But as training camp lingered on, I found myself going out and I had a couple beers and the beers turned into mixed drinks. I guess it was one Wednesday I made a bad decision."
Taylor will miss the Giants' first four games, beginning with the season-opener Monday against the defending Super Bowl champion Washington Redskins. If he completes his treatment in 30 days he will be eligible to return for the fifth game, also against Washington.
"Prior to 1985, I felt I was a casual user," Taylor said. "God, I hate to admit it, but I became an addict in 1985."
The NFL has not said what substance Taylor was abusing, although published reports have said it was cocaine. Taylor underwent rehabilitation for a cocaine problem at Methodist Hospital in Houston in February 1986, before the NFL drug policy was in effect.
In the interview with WVIT, Taylor did not mention what drug he used and he was not asked.
Taylor said he found it "a lot easier" to stay away from drugs during the past two seasons when he was being monitored closely by the league "because I knew the consequences of getting caught."
"I found myself slipping a little bit this year I guess around January or February," he said.
Taylor said he sought help from a doctor in Houston who had helped him before and who gave him "medication where I wouldn't have the urge to, you know, mess with drugs."
While Taylor said the treatment worked well until he finally succumbed to his urges three weeks ago during training camp, he did not pinpoint that date as his downfall.
"I messed up six years ago when I first tried the drugs," he said. "I didn't mess up 21 days ago in the bar."
Taylor said he would comply with the league's drug rehabilitation guidelines.
"Right now ... I have no choice," he said. "It's something I've gotten myself into and I'm trying my best to work it out so I'm not sick for the rest of my life."
Giants owner Wellington Mara said Tuesday that Taylor would not be allowed to play until the doctors running his rehabilitation program are satisfied he has successfully completed it.
Taylor said last year in his book, "LT: Living on the Edge," that he conquered his addictions by playing a lot of golf and did not feel therapy helped him. But Wednesday night, he said he now regrets not having cooperated.