Namath on why he's still sober: 'It'd kill me'

Updated: March 8, 2005, 2:26 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Football Hall of Famer Joe Namath says he has been sober for more than a year and told ESPN on Monday that his continued sobriety is not only a matter of health, but of survival.

Namath talks with ESPNews
Joe Namath talked with ESPN's John Buccigross.

Watch the interview. ESPN Motion

"It'd kill me," Namath said when asked how he's been able to stay sober. "I know it was just a matter of time. It's not the way I wanted to communicate with my family, under the influence."

Namath was a guest Monday on the set of Hot List on ESPNews. In an interview with ESPN's John Buccigross, Namath was asked about his health as a recovering alcoholic, a recovery process that began about a month after Namath told ESPN's Suzy Kolber that he wanted to kiss her in a live sideline interview for an ESPN NFL telecast of a Patriots-Jets game in December 2003.

During Monday's interview with Buccigross, Namath also said, "If I see Suzy Kolber around here, I'm going to ask her if I can give her a little kiss." Namath then laughed and quickly added, "Hey, I'm straight.

"That was a bad situation that I created, so to speak, and was a blessing in disguise."

Namath, who was in Bristol Monday to do some work for ESPN Classic, underwent counseling for alcohol abuse a month after the 2003 sideline incident.

"I needed some help," Namath said in August 2004. "I realized that I'm the kind of person who can't drink any more and that's that."

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