Fralic shares his Roswell, Ga., house with Jim Carothers, an old friend from Pittsburgh who is also his financial adviser. Two of Fralic's favorite ways to spend an evening are getting dressed up for a gourmet dinner with a girlfriend or watching professional wrestling. In 1986 Fralic participated in Wrestlemania II in Chicago. He was thrown out of the ring by The Iron Sheikh and Big John Studd during a 20-man battle royal.
"He's not John the Baptist, who's given up his world and gone out in the desert with this vision," Carothers says. "He's not out on a steroids crusade. His attitude is: Don't look to me for guidance on steroids. Use your own common sense."
But common sense is not always a quality found in young players willing to do anything to achieve gridiron greatness. "The pressure to use steroids in college is unbelievable," says Esiason, who went to Maryland. "Athletes don't think 20 years ahead to what the problems might be if they use steroids. They don't think 20 days in advance, especially at the collegiate level. The makeup of the athlete's mind, particularly at a young age, is: I'll do whatever it takes to get it done."
Fralic says the use of steroids has thrived for years because Americans have been slow to become outraged. "In society, if you don't get caught, it's O.K.," he says. "You see a guy driving a Ferrari, and he's a success. It doesn't matter how he got the Ferrari. I'd like to see a poll taken of sports fans. Ask them this question: Would you watch this game if you knew 50 percent of the players were using performance-enhancing drugs? In general, I think a lot of fans could care less. Football is like a religious experience. People have to have it. If steroids are a part of it, I think people think, Well, that's O.K."
Still, Fralic remains optimistic, because he thinks Tagliabue's new testing program might work. "If the NFL is willing to accept the consequences—and there are going to be some consequences, because there are going to be players caught who owners won't like being caught—I think we can clean it up," Fralic says. "We have to clean it up."
This is Bill Fralic's hope for his sport.