Throwback Thursday: LT Was Great, But Was He That Great?

I know that this entry will raise some eyebrows and probably ruffle some feathers. Good. It should.

“Cocaine is a hell of a drug.” -Rick James

On this day in history in 2011, Lawrence “LT” Taylor pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct and was sentenced to six years probation.

Lawrence Taylor is widely regarded as one of the best defensive players ever in the NFL, and certainly one of the premier pass rushers in the long history of the game.

LT was great, but was he that great. I say this for one major reason. To quote the one and only Rick James, “Cocaine is a hell of a drug.”

I question the true merit of LT’s pass rushing statistics. With his well-known issues with cocaine abuse, I think you have to take this into consideration when evaluating his all-time credentials.

Just knowing the science behind the drug, it most certainly was a performance enhancer. Baseball players get blasted simply for playing in the steroid era, so an individual in a physically explosive sport like football that has been on record for abusing cocaine should receive that same asterisk-type scrutiny.

Yes, he was an elite specimen without the drugs. He wouldn’t have gotten there if he didn’t have his base. There’s just no way that anyone can convince me that someone who is already on that high of a level physically that takes cocaine doesn’t get elevated to Defcon level 1.

In the 1987 publication LT: Living on the Edge, Taylor partnered with David Falkner and said, “For me, crazy as it seems, there is a real relationship between wild, reckless abandon off the field and being that way on the field.”

Taylor tested positive for cocaine multiple times and was even suspended for his drug abuse. During November 2003 interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, LT stated that he routinely submitted urine samples of clean teammates in order to beat the NFL tests.

He cheated and he admitted to it. LT’s statistics and body of work, including two Super Bowls, NFL MVP, and 3x Defensive Player of the Year are incredible. But could he have done that without being coked out of his skull?

-Jordan Kurtz is a founding member of Comments From The Peanut Gallery.

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