EDMOND, Okla. -- We'll never know for sure how inebriated Dusty Dvoracek might have been.
His situation to this point has been painted over with code words like "alcohol-related" and "rehabilitation". There are few, if any, formal charges but lots of reported allegations involving drinking and violence. When Oklahoma's star defensive lineman was kicked off the team in September, Bob Stoops called Dvoracek's conduct "a pattern of behavior."
|Bob Stoops said there was a 'pattern of behavior' that led to Dvoracek's dismissal. (Getty Images)|
But one way or another, all of it is over -- either Dvoracek's off-field conduct or his career. The NCAA already has granted him what many consider a precedent-setting mulligan -- a medical redshirt granted after he underwent alcohol abuse counseling.
With a college and NFL career to consider, he can't screw up again.
"Dusty can't drink," says Jim Riley, the man who treated him. "He gets caught drinking, it's over. He's automatically suspended. He can't even sit down and have a beer. He can't drink that way anyway, so it doesn't make any difference."
Jim Riley, 59, is candid because life hasn't pulled any punches with him. So why should he? Riley doesn't hide behind privacy concerns or code words. Riley played six seasons in the NFL, was a member of the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins. He was an alcoholic for probably triple that amount of time. And worse.
Some members of that '72 Dolphins team made it a habit to share a bottle of champagne each year the last undefeated NFL team lost a game. Not Riley. He was way beyond that.
"I even started doing cocaine," he said. "I was out of control."
Twenty years ago he took the cure, agreeing to enter himself into rehab. Sixteen years ago his 19-year old son Blake stared him in the eye and said, "I promise you I'll never touch a drop of alcohol as long as I live, as long as you don't."
Then a couple of months later, Blake was dead in a car crash, the only fatality in car filled with three other friends traveling back from an Oklahoma football game. The promise was fulfilled, but way too early.
So when it comes to the cold, hard truth, Riley doesn't flinch. His Jim Riley Outreach ministry started shortly after Blake's death. The ministry counsels those with drug and alcohol problems.
Riley continued his abstinence, even when the depths of horrific depression tempted him. And he reasons, so can everyone else.