“L.A. Mike” Richardson, a defensive back with the 1985 Superbowl-winning Chicago Bears, brought his story of addiction and recovery to Rosencrance Griffin Williamson Adolescent Treatment Center Tuesday. According to The Rock River Times, L.A. Mike was raised in Compton and was introduced to drugs at a young age. He did attend Arizona State University, and was a second round draft choice for the Chicago Bears in 1983. He was a soloist in the rap video “Superbowl Shuffle” in 1985, which was released by the team and delighted fans. He played seven seasons in the NFL, six with the Bears and one with the 49ers.
L.A. Mike became enamored with the party lifestyle that often accompanies the professional sports world. His substance abuse led to several convictions and a prison stint that ended in 2010. He explained to the teens at the treatment center that he still had difficulties admitting he had a problem, even with all the convictions. ”That kept me sick for many years,” he begins. ”At one point, jails became a way of life for me and then, jails turned into prisons. I had to change, or I was going to die-either on the streets or in prison.”
L.A. Mike explained to the teens that he kept hearing the messages in numerous treatment programs, things like ‘keep it simple’,'one day at a time’, or ‘get a sponsor.’ Nothing clicked until he faced himself. ”I had to get honest before I could get sober,” he told them. He adds,”If you’re here today, you’re here for a reason. You guys need to get honest with yourselves. Take advantage of every resource you have. Talk with your counselors. They are here to help.”
L.A. Mike Richardson claims that he finally got it in 2007, when he was arrested for parole violation. He was sent to prison. He said, “That was the best thing that ever happened to me-not the day I won the Superbowl- the day I got sober.” Mike also urged the young adolescents to use treatment as a new beginning, encouraging them with the reminder that if they are sober today, they are already a success. L.A. Mike Richardson is trying to forge a new career coaching and speaking with youth about the dangers of drugs.