Former NFL player Randy Grimes delivers sobering message, hope on prescription pill addiction

By Sierra Wangler

Randy Grimes had it all, a great career, a beautiful home, a loving family, until he nearly lost it all because of an addiction that started when he was in the NFL.

"I didn't reach out for help, I didn't know how to ask for help, I didn't know who to ask for help," Grimes said. "I was ready for my next handful of pills to be my last."

The 6-foot-4, 270-pound center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a force on the field, but what fans couldn't see was this very secret battle Grimes was fighting -- one that nearly cost him his life.

The 10-year veteran of the NFL was addicted to pain pills -- an addiction that lasted nearly twenty years. Grimes said he took the pills to numb the pain from the injuries he sustained while playing professional football.

'45 pills a day'

Grimes retired in 1992, and although his football career ended, his addiction to pain killers did not. After taking copious amounts of narcotics each day and spending hours driving around Houston in search of more, Grimes admits he had inevitably hit rock bottom.

"I was taking probably 30 pills a day, you know, sometimes 45 pills a day," he said. "I didn't see any light at the end of the tunnel, and you know only by the grace of God that I survived."

Grimes eventually went into rehabilitation at Behavioral Health, a facility in North Palm Beach, Florida. Now he is counseling others, including athletes, that are battling addiction to pain pills, hoping his life story will be an agent of change to others.

"There's help out there and there's hope, as long as there's a pulse, you know, don't give up on people," Grimes said.

Brings message to Michigan

Recently, Grimes made a stop in Fraser, Mich., where he spoke at a FAN, Families Against Narcotics, meeting, offering this advice to those in attendance.

"It's never too late to go in and to get your life back," he said. "I'm so much more grateful every day for just waking up, I mean and that's such a gift now -- for what I have and for the little things that we're able to accomplish."

Grimes also stressed the importance for families to set good, healthy boundaries with those affected and to get educated on the disease of addiction.

"When families get healthy, addicts get healthy," he said.

Helping people recover

Randy Grimes says helping people recover from their addiction is the best job he's ever had.

"Out of all the things that I've accomplished in my life on the football field, and all the battles that I've won you know this is by far my greatest accomplishment," Grimes said.

Grimes will continue to work with Families Against Narcotics. In fact, some participants of FAN's Hope Not Handcuff's program, are being treated at Behavioral Health where Grimes works in Florida.

RELATED: Young man from Fraser speaks out after his addiction landed him behind bars

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