His brother Parnell called from Houston, muffled his voice and said he was a Chicago reporter investigating him; they both got a big laugh. His sisters called. His friends have been telling anyone who asks that drugs are not Warren Sapp's way. His center, he insists, is still intact.
He says it was wrong to put himself in this position, but carefully. He is very careful now. "As a public figure, I have an obligation to keep myself on the straight and narrow," he says. "There are certain things I shouldn't be associated with. It really shook me."
More than he knows. For now, anytime Sapp is late for practice or misses a flight, eyebrows will rise. When he is seen out at night, there will be more than a few two-second stares. His name wears a stain now, and it won't fade easy.