"After that, something changed in him," she says. "I think love won him over. He stopped doing cocaine, because a person can't walk away from true love. It's the only changing force in life."
Says White, "She could've left a long time ago. To still be there, I mean, that said a lot."
White was again out of the shadows. And he stayed out until the evening of Aug. 20, 1987. After a two-year layoff, for reasons unknown to White, he suddenly had a "serious need" for cocaine. He called an old partying buddy. They met in a nearby bar, drank until closing time and then headed for the warehouse, "where the stuff was," says White.
Hello, Superman. "At first I thought I could do a little bit," White remembers. "Then I thought I could do as much as I used to do.... After a while, I was going a million miles an hour. I just got paranoid. I broke out and started running. I thought somebody was chasing me.... My body was giving me something to think about."
Robinson bailed him out of jail. They went to the coach's home and called Judi from there; White got on the phone. Her first thought was not rage or resentment or. Here we go again or, I'm leaving for good this time. Her first thought was, Well, we'll sell the house if we have to.
"I wanted to take care of him," she says. "I knew right then it was going to be me and Charles against the world. As usual. Like it's always been."
But that's where she was wrong. She didn't count on Robinson. The next day Robinson called her and said, "Don't worry about his job; let's just try to get him healthy." Robinson had decided to keep him, no matter what. One last time.
"He's my friend," Robinson explains. "I would have felt awful if I had turned away from him."
"I realized I was being given a second chance," White recalls. "I could've been dead, man! And John Robinson was willing to take a chance on me. And [Rams owner] Georgia [Frontiere]! Georgia could've said no, but she didn't. If I could've kissed her feet, I'd have kissed her feet."
Compared with Len Bias and Don Rogers, White figured he had hit the lottery. He had life. He even had work. But as the strike grew near, he got itchy. How could he make it with nothing to do? How could he keep his mind clean? He crossed the picket lines. "I didn't do it for the money," he says. "I did it to save my life."