Former NFL player Randy Grimes said substance misuse was the toughest challenge of his life to overcome. Now retired, Grimes has opened a treatment center to help other athletes.

Although former Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Randy Grimes may have seemed unstoppable on the field, he was also facing an opponent that is much harder to defeat: addiction. Now retired, Grimes is opening up about his battle with painkiller addiction and working with athletes who are struggling with substance use disorders.

Grimes said he was “willing to do whatever” he needed to stay out on the field. However, this often included taking pain and sleep medication to treat the painful injuries that regularly occur in football. Grimes also said he was worried about his contract, putting food on the table for his family and being “the best center that ever played the game.”

Retired and Recovering From Addiction

Though retirement meant that Grimes was no longer exposed to the physical aspects of football, his addiction remained long after his jersey-wearing days were over. After many years of introspection, he decided to begin the recovery process with help from his wife.

Channeling the leadership skills he learned on the football field, Grimes also founded a drug addiction treatment center. What started as a place for Grimes to assist other NFL players struggling with addiction soon turned into a larger mission. The goal now is to assist former players from a wide range of sports.

“When I left the game, I not only took that chronic pain and those injuries into my private life, but I also took that addiction … I didn’t put my hand up and ask for help,” Grimes said. “So when I finally did, that’s when we found out there wasn’t really anything in place. And that’s when I started putting all of this together.”

He said the group of athletes in recovery is very diverse, made up of athletes facing similar challenges and struggles. This group includes athletes from the NFL, NBA and NHL, as well as MMA fighters and players from many other sports.

A Hope for Healing and Addiction Recovery

In August, Grimes organized a summit for sports pain experts and addiction recovery specialists to discuss progress in establishing treatment plans. The time was also dedicated to sharing findings about recovering athletes. Grimes said that while some sports have more specific concerns, an underlying theme for all athletes is a lack of tools available for substance misuse and recovery.

Due to the pressure to perform in professional sports, some athletes misuse substances to help manage chronic pain and injuries sustained in the game. Outside the realm of professional sports, many people misuse substances for similar reasons — whether it is the pressure to perform or put food on the table.

Although drug addiction and misuse may seem like an impossible condition to manage, help is available at The Recovery Village. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, contact us today. Our helpful representatives are able to provide you with information about treatment plans and programs that can work well for your situation.

Jonathan Strum
Editor – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. Read more

Walters, Ashleigh. “Former NFL player helping those battling addiction.” WPTV West Palm Beach, August 26, 2019. Accessed September 20, 2019.

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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.