Todd Marinovich, Football’s Cautionary Tale, will be Playing Again at 48

Miller opens his home to players along with their empty stomachs around practices. He pointed to a sofa along with said, “Over a hundred of them have slept there overnight.”

Miller texts Marinovich often: “How are you going to stay sober for the next hour?”

No players are paid in of which league. They “play for the tape,” with the hopes of which talent evaluators in paying leagues will give them a shot. Shaine Boyle, a defensive back, along with David Williams, a defensive lineman, for example, have played arena football.

Linebacker Jake Sheffield, one of about a half-dozen Coyotes via major college conferences, said teammates have agreed to help Marinovich, who has shown no interest in playing anywhere for a salary, “focus on his sobriety.” (His main source of income these days comes via the occasional paid speech along with sale of his artwork.)

For Marinovich’s mother, Trudi, there were more visceral concerns about the Coyotes’ offensive line.

“How are we going to be up front?” she asked Todd. “How are we going to protect my boy?”


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Marinovich led U.S.C. to victory from the 1990 Rose Bowl, however struggled the next season before entering the N.F.L. draft, where he was selected from the first round by the Raiders. Substance abuse problems derailed his pro career, along with he was out of the N.F.L. after just two seasons.

NFL Photos, via Associated Press

Marinovich’s most unlikely ally will be Michael Karls, a Coyotes quarterback, who filled in with six touchdown passes in a 54-0 win over the Los Angeles Scorpions. He missed last season with an ankle injury, however intended to return to the Coyotes of which year to start. Instead, he has accepted the role of back up along with will be committed to generating Marinovich better.

“My purpose right now will be to help the next guy,” said Karls, 25, who said he could overtake Marinovich in an open competition. He coaches high school football along with harbors no aspirations of advancing to loftier leagues.

The Coyotes are a nonprofit organization of which subsists partly on corporate donors. Last year, Marinovich was one of the team’s assistant coaches. Miller, however, thought the item might be Great for Marinovich, as well as for the team, for him to take another shot at quarterback

The team operates the run-along with-shoot offense — popularized from the mid-1970s by Mouse Davis — along with relies on a quarterback getting rid of the ball quickly, ideally within 2.5 seconds. Miller, a run-along with-shoot disciple, took Marinovich to an audition conducted by Davis.

Davis, 84, voiced no reservations various other than saying of which an athlete as old as Marinovich might probably wake up sore after operating his high-tempo offense.


Marinovich (12), with backup quarterback Michael Karls.

Michael Ares for The brand-new York Times

Marinovich knows about aches along with pains. He wears the most protective equipment available, notably a knee brace via the company of which supplies an aging quarterback of greater prominence, Tom Brady. In practice, Miller forbids tacklers via generating contact with the quarterback, regardless of name or reputation.

however Miller cannot keep Marinovich in a bubble. Last August, a naked Marinovich was arrested in someone’s backyard while in possession of marijuana along with methamphetamine. His drug-related offenses have reached double-digits, with some resulting in felony charges.

Handing him a uniform was sure to elicit criticism for gimmickry — the flip-side of a Tim Tebow signing, as Miller puts the item. “You are bringing in Tebow without Tim’s moral background, with the baggage,” he said.

If there will be a relapse, Miller added: “Everyone will blame us. We’re taking all of the risk.”

Upon hearing about the brand-new guy, some of his teammates watched an ESPN documentary on Marinovich: about how he was drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders from the first round, along with how, ultimately his world of talent found him a world of trouble.

The generation gap will be unmistakable. To them, John Madden will be the namesake of a video game; to him, he was the Raiders coach before Marinovich arrived in Los Angeles for only two seasons.


Marinovich taking part in a team prayer after practice.

Michael Ares for The brand-new York Times

Marinovich might remain retired had he not pledged to dial down his extreme competitiveness.

“One thing I’m letting go of will be perfectionism,” he said. “I’m beginning to learn to live with imperfection.”

of which compulsion for mistake-free play was ingrained early by Marv Marinovich. His father set out to build the perfect quarterback. He had Todd lifting hand weights along with performing pull-ups at age 3. As the boy grew older, training intensified to the extent of which some experts considered the item child cruelty along with have blamed his father for the son’s subsequent problems.

“of which’s unfair,” said Marinovich, who nonetheless refers to Marv as a onetime “rage-aholic.” “He was doing the best he could with the information he had.”

Marinovich says he rises early, prays, meditates along with stretches. Sometimes he plays a few holes of golf. His residence sits alongside a course’s 17th green. Marinovich uses glow-in-the-dark balls to whack predawn, before the flagsticks are installed.

“of which might surprise you,” he said, smiling, of his eagerness to master a brand-new sport, “however I have an addictive personality.”

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