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Naked, meth-holding NFL bust should be a warning to Manziel

New York Post, August 22, 2016

Todd Marinovich was a 1991 first-round NFL draft pick by the Los Angeles Raiders, taken ahead of Brett Favre. It appears he’s still falling from that height.

The quarterback, who flamed out of the NFL after just two seasons in a haze of drugs, was arrested, police said Monday, after he was found naked with marijuana and meth in another person’s backyard in Irvine, Calif., according to the OC Register.

Police received a complaint call Friday night, and when they arrived on the scene they saw the 47-year-old naked and carrying his items “in a brown bag.” TMZ reports meth was found in the parcel.

The former USC star reportedly was charged with trespassing, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.

Marinovich’s plunge from can’t-miss NFL QB to a flameout hitting another bottom in many ways makes him a precursor to Johnny Manziel.

Earlier this year, Marinovich publicly reached out to Manziel, seeing shades of his own misfortune in the cult figure known as Johnny Football. Manziel emerged from a stint in rehab in 2015 only for his behavior to spiral out of control following his second pro season, including an alleged domestic violence incident.

“[Staying clean] just never lasted when I was doing it for the job or I was doing it for family,’’ Marinovich told USA Today in February. “I don’t know if you can be reached if the person is unwilling. It’s almost like you have to let them go and experience what they’re going to experience.”

The pressure got to Marinovich, a California legend and Heisman Trophy candidate who carried the Trojans to a 1990 Rose Bowl title. He endured a long drug battle that turned his promising professional career into a brief one.

“Playing quarterback at a young age in the NFL with all the pressure that is involved is insane, really,” Marinovich said. “I didn’t have any tools at that age to deal with all that and juggle that and keep centered to where I could function on and off the field.”

Marinovich was arrested for cocaine possession in 1991, about a month after USC lost the Sun Bowl. He was drafted No. 24 to Los Angeles a few months later and became the starter in his second season, but an up-and-down audition quickly was derailed. His drug use spurred him to keep Gatorade bottles of his non-smoking friends’ urine at his house, which he would use when the NFL drug-tested him. After he used the urine of a friend who had been drinking heavily, his blood-alcohol reading forced the Raiders to send him to rehab.

The team later staged an intervention for its young quarterback, but he bowed out of the league, making later cameos in the CFL and Arena Football League.

In his post-football life, he had appeared to find peace as an artist, telling TMZ in 2011, “I’ve been sober for over three years.”