In 2007, the Indianapolis Colts drafted All-American defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock in the third round. But Pitcock retired after just one season in the NFL. His early exit had nothing to do with injury or drugs or guns. Well, actually it did have to do with guns. Pitcock, you see, was addicted to video games, and his poison of choice was the first-person shooter Call of Duty, which he played online with hordes of other gamers.
Now Pitcock is trying to make a comeback with the Detroit Lions. (This is his second comeback. He tried unsuccessfully to catch on with the Seahawks last year.) The Detroit Free Press scored an interview with him and relays some details about his problem. Sad stuff:
"When people get depressed, usually, you know ... drug of choice," Pitcock said. "When I was down, I got consumed in video games. For some reason, that's what made me feel better and kind of block out life. I just got sucked into it.
"I could easily play up to 18 hours a day straight, without even realizing it. Really, almost the time I was off is almost a blur. It's almost like I don't remember. It seems like one day of playing for months."
How long did the blur last?
"Probably almost a year, when I was really bad," Pitcock said. "I would try getting help but I would still relapse."
There he was, a 300-pound NFL lineman, retired from America's favorite game so that he could play games online. He would sometimes eat only one meal a day, without even realizing it, because he was so focused on gaming. This sounds like the ultimate slacker story for the 21st century. It is not. It's much deeper, sadder and finally more inspiring than that.
I'd make a Madden joke here, but it just wouldn't be right. Good luck, gamer.