With so much attention focused on the short-term and long-term effects of concussions for many NFL players past and present, not much is openly discussed about the addiction issues many pro athletes face.
Former Viking Robert Smith opened up for the first time Friday about the battles he has had with alcoholism.
Smith joined ESPN's Skip Bayless ostensibly to talk about the reinstatement of 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, who took a non-football injury leave of absence to check into an inpatient rehab program.
Robert Smith earned a reputation as a candid and articulate thinker, and he's especially so in this compelling interview, where he speaks matter-of-factly about his own addiction, relapses and the damage it's done to his family.
Smith, who was passed last year by Adrian Peterson as the Vikings all-time leading rusher, shocked just about everyone by walking away from the game at age 28 to preserve his health, something written about extensively just this past August in the News-Herald of northern Ohio. But Smith, who has also written a book on the pitfalls of sport and celebrity, has rarely opened up on this subject.