Luis Sharpe was the Cardinals’ first round draft pick in 1982. The former UCLA Bruin was the 16th overall player selected. Sharpe would develop into one of the NFL’s top left tackles, earning Pro Bowl honors three times during his standout 13-year career.
Sharpe was glib, personable, and articulate -- a player who reporters flocked to before and after every game for comments and interviews.
But shockingly, Sharpe would make even bigger headlines off the field for his drug addiction. Fame, money and family -- Sharpe lost it all. For a period spanning 20 years, Sharpe was in and out of prison.
Relapse became a familiar word when referring to Sharpe. In fact, I did a story on Sharpe during one of his rehab and recovery periods about 12 years ago.
Two years later, I learned that he was back in prison.
During his latest stint in prison, Sharpe was severely beaten about his head and face. He required reconstructive surgery and nearly died. After serving a five-year sentence, Sharpe was released from prison in 2013 and has been sober since.
I recently had a chance to sit down and interview Sharpe regarding his sobriety. It was a completely different Sharpe who sat in front of me this time around.
I was totally impressed with his sincerity, purpose and accountability. His story is one he’s excited to share with others, particularly recovering addicts.