Wilson says he was taking drug to help his diabetes

Updated: September 2, 2007, 2:32 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson apologized Saturday for any embarrassment he brought to the team and his family because of his NFL suspension for using a banned substance.

Wade Wilson


But Wilson, a 48-year-old former quarterback who played for five teams in 18 NFL seasons, doesn't regret trying to "improve the quality of my life" after living with diabetes for more than 20 years.

"I wasn't taking the product to enhance performance. I am way past that. I was taking it to try to improve my quality of life," he said. "At no time did I think I was doing anything illegal or against league policy."

Wilson was suspended five games by the NFL on Saturday for buying and using performance-enhancing substances. He was also fined $100,000. The New York Daily News reported Wilson received human growth hormone while working for the Chicago Bears, where he had been quarterbacks coach since 2004.

Wilson told ESPN.com's Matt Mosley he acted without "proper medical supervision" and that "outside of myself and my fiancée, no one else knew that I was taking anything."

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Wilson would return to his job after his suspension ends Oct. 9.

Wilson said he purchased the substance last fall to help him deal with the impact of diabetes. He has had problems with fatigue, kidney function, vision and sleep patterns because of the illness.

In Wilson's absence, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and offensive assistant Wes Phillips, the son of head coach Wade Phillips, will handle Wilson's duties of working with quarterbacks Tony Romo and Brad Johnson.

"Both Jerry and I really support Wade Wilson and I'm looking forward to when he comes back," Wade Phillips said. "He's cooperated and did all the right things, and we fully support him."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said both Wilson's suspension and the suspension Friday of New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison stemmed from the investigation by the Albany (N.Y.) district attorney's office. Authorities there have been looking into an Internet ring involving performance-enhancing drugs and allegedly involving athletes from a number of sports.

When asked if he was trying to help anyone else by supplying them drugs, Wilson said there was "no other reason at all."

"The idea that I was trying to get this for anyone else is absolutely ludicrous," he told ESPN.com.

Wilson said he first learned he was being investigated by the league on Aug. 17 and he met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Aug. 21.

The league said that Harrison, Wilson and Richard Ryzde, a former doctor for the Pittsburgh Steelers, were customers of an Internet pharmaceutical distribution ring for steroids and other performance enhancers being investigated by the Albany (N.Y.) D.A.

"When I talked to the commissioner I was very forthright with him," Wilson said. "There was no denial that I took the product. I was fully cooperative with the commissioner, Jerry and everybody else involved."

Wilson said he purchased the substance last fall to help him deal with the impact of diabetes. He has had problems with fatigue, kidney function, vision and sleep patterns because of the illness.

Wilson added he disposed of the substance because his blood sugar levels were "all over the map."

"I don't regret that I did that," Wilson said. "I definitely should have gone down a different avenue."

The Cowboys added Wilson to the coaching staff in February. Wilson was also on the Cowboys staff for Dave Campo from 2000-02.

Jones said Wilson, who played in the NFL from 1981-98, and was a backup quarterback with the Cowboys from 1995-97, had "absolutely no intention of breaking any league rules."

"He has a long track record of quality service to the NFL and community service to the cities where has played and coached," Jones said in a statement. "We recognize and support the importance placed on these matters by the National Football League. We also support Wade Wilson during this time and look forward to his contributions to the future of the Dallas Cowboys."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.