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Painkiller.

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My apologies to Judas Priest, but this. is. the. painkiller.

No judgment here, Erik. -Erik
No judgment here, Erik. -Erik
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Trust me. Play it as you read.

Hi, I am Erik Evans. I am 40 years old. I am a lawyer, a three-time alum of the University of Alabama, a three-time cancer survivor, and I am painkiller addict.

That sucked to read, didn't it? It sucks to type, I promise you. And, it sucks to live through it far more than you will ever know.

There have been rumors swirling about, from this and many sites, of "undisclosed medical issues" involving one of our players. And, you know what those are? They're not at all the soft, cuddly glow of a "violation of team rules" weed bust. No. They are far more pernicious...they instead involve the "be better, feel better, work harder, don't lose your spot, trust me," beautiful, chalky, alkaline-glow of opiates, given to you as a kid, sustained through your career. Adults hooking kids on painkillers.

I struggle with opiates every day of my life. This is because I need them, and have literally needed them, every day of my life, for a decade. I have taken them less than 7-8% of the time I have needed them. Some mornings, I wake up crying, apologizing to my puppy that I don't feel like running. Some days, I wake up yelling at loved ones...sublimating my hurt upon others. Some days, I wake up, like a f'n junkie, wanting it to all go away. Some days, I give you a Jumbo Package at 2:00 p.m; others, I am responsive at 4:00 a.m...it's just easier to feign a hangover than tell you the truth that I would rather die than get out of bed unmedicated, hurting as I do.

Pain hurts: At an existential, ephemeral level, it hurts, it sucks, and it kills your will to live: Eat this tabular capsule bullshit, and I resist far more than my body would like. My career, my family cannot survive the ordeal of another ride on an opioid Ferris wheel.

What hurts THE WORST is when you, as a kid, are told to take it to survive, to get by, to struggle through, that you are no different than others, that your career, that your future success relies upon becoming a functional addict. That is unconscionable. That is unforgivable. And we need realign our objectives.

The difference between Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf is measured in successes and injury luck. The difference between myself and Aaron Douglas is that I made it to an emergency room in time.

Painkiller.

And, yes, I wrote this painfully, tearfully sober....hurting the entire time.