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Thread: Dominican in the NFL now, but highly controversial

  1. #1
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    Mar 2004
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    Default Dominican in the NFL now, but highly controversial

    Did you know Luis Castillo (NFL) was Dominican? Never knew there were any Dominicans in the NFL (National football League), or on the verge of getting there. Are there others?

    Quick synopsis on him: He's the college football player who just drafted to play for the San Diego Chargers in the 1st round, AFTER admitting that he took steriods (andro) before he worked out for teams. Huge mistake on his part, but reward was worth the crime. His was a good story until....

    What do you think?

    Here's the entire story:

    Here are excerpts from the article:

    " I was in San Diego for the draft. I had a chance to talk with Castillo on the phone from his home in Chicago after the pick. His is a great story. Castillo was born in the Dominican Republic, and he moved with his mom to the Land of Opportunity -- in this case the New York City suburb of Garfield, N.J. -- when he was a young boy. He took full advantage of his new life, earning a football scholarship to Northwestern and playing and studying well enough there to become an Academic All-American and football All-American.

    Entering his senior season, Castillo was expected to earn his way into the lower tier of the draft's first round, at least. But on the second play of the season, at TCU, as he was reaching for the quarterback on a pass-rush and had his palm on the guy's helmet, his elbow hyperextended by another player. He suffered a severe injury to his ulnar-collateral elbow ligament. Basically, he couldn't flex his elbow. And so he couldn't lift weights. He probably shouldn't have been playing. But he was a team captain, and he felt responsible for teammates relying on him.

    "So I got shot up before games and just endured the pain,'' Castillo told me. "There were a lot of tough moments. The pain was unbelievable. I had the option of taking a medical redshirt after our third game. I could have come back for a fifth year if I stopped playing then. I could have had surgery, and either come back next year and play again, or maybe make it back in time to work out and get ready for the NFL Draft. But I decided to keep playing. I basically played with one arm. My get-off ability was down. I was falling a lot. I wasn't anywhere near the player I could have been, but I played. At the end of the year, I expected I would have surgery and then come back in six or eight months, but then I saw the Bears' team doctor, and he told me that a lot of football players come back from this injury without having the surgery. So I just started rehabbing and thought I'd be ready for the Combine.''

    One problem: The elbow wasn't getting better fast enough. He hadn't been able to lift weights all season, and now he still wasn't up to speed in the strength department. One of the big tests at the NFL Scouting Combine for interior linemen is how many times they can bench-press 225 pounds consecutively. For a 6-foot-3, 303-pound man who hoped to play in the land of the NFL giants, attacking fellow 300-pounders every Sunday, it would have been a disaster for Castillo to either skip the Combine bench-press or to perform poorly. So shortly before the annual even in Indy, in an attempt to jump-start his quicksand-like rehab, for a short period Castillo took androstenedione. Andro, as it's known, is a steroid that the body converts to excessive testosterone, which promotes muscle growth and healing. "I got scared,'' Castillo said. "I made a huge mistake.''

    "Castillo had a mea-culpa conference call with the San Diego media (one local writer cracked, "Do you know Mark McGwire?''), and Smith and coach Marty Schottenheimer launched a staunch defense of Castillo. Both clearly believe Castillo's mistake was a one-time thing.

    On ESPN, a current player, New England linebacker Mike Vrabel, ripped into the pick and into Castillo. "It sends a terrible message,'' Vrabel said. "He cheats. He cheated the system and got away with it.'' As Vrabel said, Castillo was actually rewarded for cheating. Had he not taken the andro, had he tested poorly at the Combine and had he still been in questionable health today, there's no way he would have been drafted as high as he was."

  2. #2
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    Mar 2005
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