Tony Mandarich

Tony Mandarich
Tony Mandarich
No. 77, 79     
Offensive tackle / Offensive guard
Personal information
Date of birth: September 23, 1966 (1966-09-23) (age 45)
Place of birth: Oakville, Ontario
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) Weight: 311 lb (141 kg)
Career information
College: Michigan State
NFL Draft: 1989 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Debuted in 1989 for the Green Bay Packers
Last played in 1998 for the Indianapolis Colts
Career history
Career highlights and awards
  • First-team All-American (1988)
  • Outland Award finalist (1988)
  • 2× Big Ten Lineman of the Year
Career NFL statistics as of 1998
Games played     86
Games started     47
Fumble recoveries     2
Stats at

Ante Josip "Tony" Mandarich (born September 23, 1966) is a former football offensive lineman of the NFL. He was the first round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1989, second overall behind quarterback Troy Aikman, and ahead of the third selection, running back Barry Sanders, the fourth selection, linebacker Derrick Thomas, and the fifth selection, cornerback Deion Sanders. Mandarich is the only player of those five not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is tied with Charles Rogers as the second highest drafted Michigan State player ever (behind Bubba Smith). He is also the highest-drafted Canadian-born player in NFL history. In 1989, Sports Illustrated called him "the best offensive line prospect ever",[1] but he is now considered one of the biggest busts in NFL history.[2]


Football career

Playing at Michigan State University, Mandarich played in the 1988 Rose Bowl, was named as a First-team All-American, an Outland Award finalist and a two-time Big Ten Lineman of the Year. Upon his entry into the 1989 NFL Draft, both scouts and media (most notably Sports Illustrated, which did a cover story on him, nicknaming him "The Incredible Bulk")[2] began trumpeting Mandarich as the best offensive line prospect ever, touting his "measurables", "He weighed 304, ran the 40 in 4.65 seconds, did a standing long jump of 10' 3", leaped vertically 30" and bench-pressed 225 pounds an unheard-of 39 times". He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated twice and was also a colorful character, illustrated by such instances as challenging then–Heavyweight Boxing Champion Mike Tyson to a fight, missing scheduled public appearances due to being drunk or hungover, his well-documented love of the band Guns N' Roses (he had a dog named Axl and also a tattoo of the cross-design from the cover of Appetite for Destruction on his arm), and referring to Green Bay as "a village".[2]

Drafted as an offensive lineman, Mandarich never lived up to the very high expectations set for him, and spent most of his first year on the Packers on special teams after a lengthy holdout that only got settled the last week before the regular season. He was also known for having attitude issues. He was quoted "I am not like other players, I am Tony Mandarich, and they have to understand that. If they don't like it, that is just the way I am and they are going to learn to like it."[2] After three seasons of lackluster performance on a four-year contract, Mandarich was cut in 1992 by the Packers citing a non-football injury.[2] Mandarich is often referred to as one of the top 5 bust NFL draft picks of all time, having been drafted second overall and ahead of such to-be NFL stars as Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, Deion Sanders, Steve Atwater, Eric Metcalf, and Andre Rison. The September 28, 1992, cover of Sports Illustrated featuring Mandarich labelled him "The NFL's Incredible Bust." [3]

The question of steroid use has been discussed as a possible factor in Mandarich's spectacular failure. This accusation is one that Mandarich only admitted in 2008. Until then, he publicly blamed his work ethic—in a 2003 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article: "I wanted to create as much hype as I could for many different reasons—exposure, negotiation leverage, you name it. And it all worked, except the performance wasn't there when it was time to play football."

After getting cut by the packers, he went to Traverse City, Michigan for two years addicted to drugs and alcohol.[2] His family checked him into a rehabilitation clinic on March 23, 1995 and he became sober.[2] Mandarich returned to football for three years between 1996 and 1998 with the Indianapolis Colts. He had a more successful, if not particularly noteworthy, career with the Colts before retiring from football in 1998 due to a shoulder injury. He claims that in his tenure with the Colts he was "clean", stating he did not take steroids during this time.

Post-football career

After his career was over, he moved back to Canada; he owned a golf course and remarried his wife Char in 2004.[2] From September 2004 until September 2005, Mandarich served as an NFL analyst for The Score TV sports network in Canada. He quit in October 2005 and moved to Arizona.[2]

He now runs a photography studio; he began doing nature photography as a hobby in 1990.[2] Mandarich has expanded his business, named Mandarich Media Group, to include photography, video production, web design, search engine optimization, and Internet marketing.[2]

In September 2008, Mandarich admitted to using steroids at Michigan State and faking a drug test before the 1988 Rose Bowl. Mandarich denied using steroids in the NFL but was addicted to alcohol and painkillers.[4]

Tony had an older brother, John, who was instrumental in his development as an athlete, including sponsoring his younger brother's transfer to a stateside high school before Tony's senior year. John made his own reputation in professional football in the Canadian Football League. John Mandarich's early death from skin cancer is documented in Tony's memoir.

In the March 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated he tells about his use and addiction and about his new book called My Dirty Little Secrets—Steroids, Alcohol & God.[2] In that book, Mandarich ascribes his underwhelming performance with the Green Bay Packers to his painkiller addiction, which buffeted his drive and work ethic. His addiction was so powerful he kept syringes in his athletic supporter to have his narcotics supply close at hand. He also said that steroid use was rampant among his teammates at Michigan State, substantiating allegations made against the 1988 Rose Bowl team two decades earlier. Mandarich goes on to describe his traumatic and triumphant stint in rehab, and his subsequent return to the NFL. "I didn't write the book for forgiveness," Mandarich said. "I wrote the book for explanation and for, hopefully, helping somebody see the light that there is hope for addiction or alcoholism and that you can change and save your life."[2]


  • Mandarich, Tony; Sharon Shaw Elrod (March 2009). My Dirty Little Secrets - Steroids, Alcohol & God: The Tony Mandarich Story. Modern History Press. ISBN 9781932690781.  Tony Mandarich was a top five NFL draft pick.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 1989 Green Bay Packers season — Infobox NFL season team = Green Bay Packers year = 1989 record = 10 6 division place = 2nd NFC Central coach = Lindy Infante stadium = Lambeau Field, Milwaukee County Stadium playoffs = Did not qualifyThe 1989 Green Bay Packers season resulted in …   Wikipedia

  • List of Croatian sportspeople — This is a partial list of famous Croatian sportspeople.Individual SportsAlpine Skiing* Stipe Božić alpinist * Janica Kostelić A.S. World Cup Champion in 2001, 2003 2006 (4 Olympic Golds 2 Silvers) * Ivica Kostelić Alpine skier, Olympic silver… …   Wikipedia

  • Michigan State Spartans football — Current season …   Wikipedia

  • Big Ten Conference football individual honors — Coaches and media of the Big Ten Conference award the following individual honors at the end of each football season. In addition, the Chicago Tribune awards the Chicago Tribune Silver Football to the most valuable football player of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Green Bay Packers — NFL team beta| name = Green Bay Packers established = 1919 misc = city = Green Bay, Wisconsin uniform = colors = Dark Green, Gold, White coach = Mike McCarthy owner = Green Bay Packers, Inc. (111,967 stockholders) chairman = Mark Murphy general… …   Wikipedia

  • Deion Sanders — Sanders in 2011. No. 21, 37      Cornerback/ Return specialist Personal information …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Green Bay Packers — The Green Bay Packers are a professional American football team that has played since 1919 and played professionally in the National Football League since 1921.Franchise historyFoundingThe Green Bay Packers were founded on August 11, 1919 by… …   Wikipedia

  • Michigan State Spartans — University Michigan State University Conference(s) Big Ten, CCHA NCAA Division …   Wikipedia

  • Barry Sanders — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Sanders. Barry Sanders Données …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Derrick Thomas — For those of a similar name, see Derek Thomas (disambiguation) and Thomas Derrick (disambiguation). Derrick Thomas Derrick Thomas during the 1999 NFL season. No. 58      Linebacker/Defensive End …   Wikipedia