And did he? "Not really," says Joiner.
The death of Cleveland Browns safety Don Rogers from cocaine intoxication last June may have scared some NFL players. Several say that cocaine use in the league appears to have decreased this season. Their reasons why:
•Cardinals running back Earl Ferrell, who has undergone rehabilitation for drug abuse: "When I heard what happened to Don Rogers, I realized it could have been me. I even envisioned myself in the casket, with my family looking down at me and crying. I realized how much I would have hurt my mother and my loved ones, how I would have let everyone down by dying in such a stupid way."
•Niners linebacker Milt McColl, who is in his fourth year at Stanford medical school: "I think drugs are definitely on the decline because people are openly being very strongly antidrug. It's not a matter of just being noncommittal or lethargic, but taking a stand against it."
•Chiefs kicker Nick Lowery: "A combination of the Len Bias and Don Rogers deaths underlined the fatal consequences of using drugs. It burned into everyone's consciousness that there's no such thing as a recreational drug."
•Seahawks cornerback Dave Brown: "Nobody talks about drugs, even kiddingly. There's nothing to joke about, nothing to talk about at all. It's a killer, and I think these guys realize that."
On the other hand, when it comes to anabolic steroids, some players believe usage has increased:
•Bills tight end Pete Metzelaars: "I've seen more [steroids] in the last year and a half or so, more than I had seen in previous years, and heard a lot more about them. It's unfortunate, I think, for people who don't use them because it puts them at a performance disadvantage on the field. And a lot of people end up having to use them just to compete against the people who are."
•Falcons kicker Mick Luckhurst: "[Steroids are] more detrimental to the health of the player and his family than some of the other drugs we've talked about."
Scott Nicolas could be one of the most valuable players on the Cleveland Browns roster. Don't recognize the name, you say? Nicolas, a 12th-round pick from Miami in '82, is a utility guy who can play a multitude of positions. In the era of the 45-man roster, there's no underestimating the value of a player like him. He's a backup inside linebacker in short-yardage and goal-line situations, and a wedge on returns. Nicolas is especially adept at snapping for punts, extra points and field goals—he has had no bouncers or over-the-head jobs in five seasons.