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Ainge: 'I had to get help before I died'

Jets QB opens up about his ongoing battle with drug addiction and mental illness

Updated: March 31, 2011, 11:57 PM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- New York Jets backup quarterback Erik Ainge started using drugs when he was 12. It began with a bong hit, and it escalated from marijuana to prescription meds, alcohol, cocaine and heroin. By his senior year at Tennessee, he was addicted to painkillers, downing them by the handful.

This is the story of a professional athlete who lost control. Ainge fell into a self-destructive lifestyle that included multiple overdoses, drunk driving, extended stays in rehab and ...

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