A representative of the Hazelden Foundation, a Minnesota drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, made an hour-long presentation to Washington Redskins players and coaches today as part of a drug education program throughout the National Football League.
The foundation, based in Center City, Minn., was designated the overseer of the NFL's drug rehabilitation program in the collective bargaining agreement reached after last year's players strike.
A presentation similar to today's, which included a slide show and a short question and answer session, will be given at the training camps of each of the league's 28 teams.
"It was a heck of a presentation, and with players and coaches there together, I think we're moving in the right direction," said Coach Joe Gibbs. "If somebody has a problem, he has a way to get it taken care of. I think we've taken positive steps all the way around."
"This planted the seed. I hope it opened the eyes of some of the young guys just out of college. If it didn't, they didn't get the college education they paid for," said guard Mark May. In late June, May and trainer Bubba Tyer represented the Redskins at a gathering at Hazelden of players and personnel members from each NFL team.
"Normally, for these kinds of things there is some joking and laughing," said free safety Mark Murphy, the team's player representative. "But this was very serious because of all the recent publicity (of NFL players with drug problems) and because everybody is becoming more aware of the educational process.
"Also, this wasn't presented in a holier-than-thou approach. It was presented in a way that recognized the unique situation that professional football players are in. We were treated as adults."
Jim Evans, who made the presentation, would not comment, citing confidentiality rules.