Keith McCants, Football Star Laid Low by Drugs, Dies at 53


McCants Script KEITH: (slurring)I have mixed emotions about draft day. It’s very vif-, difficult to remember detail of a detail KEITH: I went in with a bad leg, and I came out worse than ever, and if I knew what I knew today, I wouldn’t have done it. KEITH: the NFL th-, they know what they gonna do before they do it. They’re very well organized, it just it’s like uh, organized crime KEITH: and because I had a big salary, I was forced to play. I was forced to be on the field, and that, and any-, by any means necessary get McCants on the field. People come see him play. We don’t pay him to sit on the bench, not that kind of money. KEITH: My expectations, at twenty-one years old, was to get on the field and prove that I should have been the number one pick. KEITH: If I was physically able to do it, it would have been no problem, but I did it with the help of medication KEITH: fter having surgery and being forced to be out there before my time, it got worse and worse.. it got worse and worse. Then the pain pills start kickin’ in-, then the pain medication(?) started kickin’ in, then the shots started coming. KEITH: I became and addict, I became a junkie. KEITH: . I didn’t do as great-,, as good as I shoulda’ done in the NFL, but I did pretty good-, I did pretty damn good KEITH: some people say I was a bust. Well, I play that, I play out of the position, and I did it well, and on top of that I did it on one leg. KEITH: but that’s when I had a breaking point, and when I jumped off the boat, shattered my knee and couldn’t um-, physically, I couldn’t no longer work or, hold a job. My body had deteriorated. I did not, that I know it was degenerative bone disease, KEITH: and fifteen surgeries on this knee, four over here, and (Sigh), and you know (Unclear) the, the bad days and good days. That’s when the depression set in and depression is the third largest killer in the world. I came home (hard to understand) suicide and couldn’t be trusted. KEITH: in that state of mind, I was lost. I was-, I didn’t know who Keith McCants was. I n-, never know I existed. If Keith McCants was not important, I was just a human being in the world, trying to, think of-, trying to make it to the next day. Wondering what I’m gonna eat, wondering what I’m gonna do, wondering where I’m gonna get my next high, this is what Keith McCants was. KEITH: Iwas plastered all over the national television – Keith McCants smoke crack pipe in front of the police, Keith McCants pimping soliciting prostitutes, Keith McCants getting arrested again. KEITH: , I’m not a good criminal. (Laughs) I’m not a real criminal. I just (Unclear) to suppress my pain, and probably get me-, get-, get me through the day, so I’m gonna go on and do all this. I would have bought drugs from the police, it didn’t matter I was in so much pain. KEITH: my momma left on her dying bed, I was locked up in jail, 2011, June 1st. I was locked up, I couldn’t get out, she died June the 1st, I got out June third. KEITH: but I’m uh tell you a story. When I was in Alabama prison jail, people don’t even re-, realize it, people don’t even know, I was in prison jail. I hung myself, KEITH: because I knew it was gonna hurt my family. I did not want to be able to live with the pain. You know when I say-, when I say you cover the pain up, I’d rather be dead that to go through this. I took my bed off, I tied it up on the-, on the rack, I put it around my neck and I hung myself. (Audio gets muffled as he demonstrates) I fell down unconsciously. Three weeks later I went to a (Unclear) recovery. Two, three weeks later, and this guy, was up there. He said, Mr. McCants you owe me a hug. I thought he was just a regular old Alabama fan. I said OK I got ya. I say OK I think I know you. He said you don’t know me. I was like, OK, uh, uh I think I know-, when I got to him, I hugged him, he hugged real tight, and he said um, now I’ll tell you where I know you-, you know me from. I’m the one who took you down when you hung yourself, and I prayed to god that you lived, and you rose up. (Choked up),