Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Shanghai, China
Hasslett admits to using roids as a player
Calls out steelers of the 70's
New Orleans Saints head coach Jim Haslett admitted to taking steroids for a short time as an NFL player before they were banned, and estimated that half of the league's players in the 1980s were users, according to published reports.
Haslett, a Pro Bowl linebacker during his nine-year NFL career, also told some reporters at the league's meetings in Hawaii that he believes steroids use in the NFL began with the Steelers in the 1970s.
"If you didn't [take steroids], you weren't as strong as everybody else, you weren't as fast as everybody else," Haslett said in reports in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Los Angeles Times. "That's the only reason to do it. Everybody's looking for a competitive edge."
The NFL began testing for banned substances in 1987, although it did not begin suspending players for steroid use until 1989. The league introduced random testing in 1990 and the policy was written into the collective bargaining agreement in 1993. Currently, a player receives a four-game suspension for his first positive test, a six-game suspension for a second and a one-season ban for a third. No one has tested positive more than once, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
Haslett, who played at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and was drafted by Buffalo in the second round in 1979, said he took steroids for six weeks during one offseason early in his career.
"I didn't think it was very good for you. I was hyper all the time. Got bloated, a fat face," he said in the published reports.
Haslett, who said that "all the offensive and defensive linemen, linebackers" were steroids users during his playing career, said the Steelers of the 1970s were big users. The Steelers won four Super Bowls in six years, beginning in 1974-75.
"It started, really, in Pittsburgh," Haslett said in the Post-Gazette. "They got an advantage on a lot of football teams. They were so much stronger [in the] '70s, late '70s, early '80s ... They're the ones who kind of started it."
Team chairman Dan Rooney refuted Haslett's accusation.
"This is totally, totally false when he says it started with the Steelers in the '70s," Rooney told the newspaper. "Chuck Noll was totally against it. He looked into it, examined it, talked to people. Haslett, maybe it affected his mind.
"Noll told the players, 'Hey, this stuff doesn't do you any good. If you just do the work, lift, things like that, you'll be all right.' "
Haslett, who estimated his playing weight at 252, described his experience with steroids to reporters.
"I didn't put weight on, I just got strong," he said. "If you lift on Monday, usually you lift Wednesday, Friday. [On steroids], you can lift like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. You never got tired.
"Your muscles recovered from it. When you lift, your muscle tears down and the blood comes in and repairs it. It takes bout 28 to 40 hours for the blood to repair the muscle. When you take steroids and it rips the muscle, the blood immediately flows in there, and it repairs itself right away. That's why you never feel tired, you never feel sore.
"You can lift every day, you can recover right away. My bench went from 440 to 480 in about six weeks."
Haslett, coach of the Saints since 2000, said the league got a handle on the steroids problem long ago.
"I'm comfortable our steroid policy is very effective," NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue told the LA Times. "And no, I can't say I'm comfortable with things not slipping through the cracks, because THG [human growth hormone] slipped through everyone's cracks because it was not a known substance and there was no test for it. And now that there's a test for it, we're testing.