Ray Lucas: The Battle After Life in the NFL [AUDIO, VIDEO]
Former NFL quarterback Ray Lucas, a New Jersey native, spoke with us regarding life after football and Super Bowl 48 taking place in his home state at MetLife Stadium.
Lucas is involved with the organization called P.A.S.T, that treats complex medical issues that retired players face such as concussions, behavioral issues and chronic pain in a New Jersey-based clinic. Players from all over the country fly in to get help and help reverse the aging process and age management services.
Jennifer Smith from P.A.S.T. has created a series of stories that tell the day-to-day struggles of NFL players after football. These in-your-face raw videos are called "Casualties of the Gridiron" which Lucas is a feature on one of the episodes. "Everybody see Sundays but no one sees Mondays," Lucas says. "This kind of series is exactly what I'm talking about."
Lucas dealt with his own bout of pain that began after a back surgery and ultimately almost lead to him to the brink of suicide. "I couldn't get insurance because of existing injuries that I received from the NFL, so the next best thing you get is painkillers." Lucas admits to, at one point, taking 50-60 painkillers a day, while battling bouts of depression, high anxiety and very angry all the time. "At one point I just decided that was it, I was going to kill myself. I left the house, drove to the George Washington Bridge and picked out the spot I was going to make the right in the middle."
The next day Lucas received the call that saved his life. Jenn Smith was the name Lucas was given and he called and began the healing process through P.A.S.T. You can watch Ray Lucas' episode of "Casualties of the Gridiron" below.
Lucas, who got to play his collegiate career and a few years of his pro career right in front of his home crowd for Rutgers University and then later in the NFL for the Jets, says it was extremely special to play in New Jersey. Lucas says he stayed local when playing college ball for a reason. "I'm such a Jersey boy, I wasn't going to go to another state and make it great, I wanted to make my state great."
For Lucas, even when he wasn't playing for the hometown team, his heart was still in the Garden State. "Even when I went to play with Miami, you can take the boy out of Jersey but you can't take the Jersey out of the boy."
When asked about his home state getting a Super Bowl and how important it is for New Jersey, Lucas replied "I think it's fantastic, you know, this is a big-boy sport, this is a man's sport. What better way to show your manhood than when you go out there and see that breath coming through the facemask. It's fantastic, it's great for New Jersey."
Lucas warns everyone from outside of New Jersey who has been calling it the "NY Super Bowl" they better check their maps. "I just want everyone to know where the Super Bowl is being held, it's not in New York it's in NEW JERSEY."
Spoken like a true Jersey boy.
Listen to the entire interview with Ray Lucas in the audio player below.