Former BYU star and NFL quarterback opens up about battle with drug addiction

Posted at 10:35 PM, Jul 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-04 00:35:31-04

SANDY, Utah– Former BYU star and Arizona Cardinal Max Hall made headlines after he was arrested in 2014 for drug possession and shoplifting, and this week during a visit to Utah the athlete opened up about his battle back.

The Cougars rose as high as 12th in the country under Hall's tenure as quarterback in 2009, and he followed up his college career with a year at the Arizona Cardinals.

But in 2014, a few years after his NFL career ended, Hall was caught shoplifting at a Best Buy in Gilbert Arizona, and later cocaine was located inside his backpack.

“I suffered with this addiction for a few years, and was scared to kind of get help, or to come out with it because I thought it would ruin my reputation,” Hall said.

His reputation did in fact take a hit when the addiction came to light, but Hall said it also brought a sense of relief.

“Once I was arrested and that all came out, I tried to look at it as a blessing,” Hall said. “Even though it was embarrassing and that was hard to go through, it was a little bit of a blessing because my secret was out. Everybody knew, so I was able to go get help.”

Hall joined another former BYU QB, Brandon Doman, this week in Sandy for an elite quarterback showcase.

“Max is a dear friend, and is a guy that I got to know really well,” Doman said.

Doman said he has empathy for Hall’s struggle.

“And I think you get that way as an athlete,” he said. “You get that way as a person in your life, and you get knocked around a little bit, and you just assume that I can handle this, and you get into addiction, and you get going down that road of pain medication and some of those harder street drugs that he got involved with… And I’ve heard him say that it was really the first time in his life that he got knocked down and wasn't quite sure he wanted to get back up.”

But Hall did get back up. Nearly two years after the darkest period of his life, Max is back. He now coaches at a charter high school back home in Arizona.

“They gave me a chance when they didn't have to, and it's been a huge blessing in my life,” Hall said. “Being around the kids, being around football, being a part of that has been really good for me."

Hall was candid about his journey, saying he’s not yet 100 percent where he’d like to be.

“I haven't been perfect, you know what I’m saying, like I still have ups and downs,” he said. “And life's not all easy anymore, but I’m doing a lot better.”

Doman is glad to see that improvement.

“It’s been fun to see him choose to get up and choose to get up with some resiliency and some focus and some vision of what he wants to do,” he said.

Hall said he hopes his journey can help others.

“There is somebody in this room, maybe it's a handful of people, maybe it's one person that is going through something right now, that is maybe going through some sort of an addiction, has depression, is suicidal: something,” Hall said. “And hopefully what I talk about, and everything that I went through, can inspire them to get better.”