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#pounditFriday, October 15, 2021

Steve Sarkisian: CC Sabathia inspired me to seek alcohol treatment

Steve Sarkisian

New Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian drew some cross-sport inspiration in his battle with alcoholism.

Speaking with the media on Wednesday, Sarkisian revealed that watching an October 2015 SportsCenter feature on New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia, who also struggled with the disease, inspired him to seek treatment.

“I was actually at home on a Sunday night and I was watching SportsCenter, and Scott Van Pelt was doing his editorial,” said Sarkisian, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN. “That night was when CC Sabathia had decided to go to treatment before the Major League Baseball playoffs. I thought to myself, ‘Whoa, here’s somebody who is like me, who is in a very high-profile position in sports – ace pitcher of the New York Yankees — and was being relatively commended or almost celebrated for going to do what he did.’

“I knew I needed to [go],” he continued. “I didn’t know how to go about it. But that thing gave me a feeling of, ‘There’s a like person that is going to do this. I know I need to do it. Now how, what, when.’ So I made the decision to go do it. It’s been the best decision of my life.”

Sarkisian’s drinking problem led to his firing as head football coach of the USC Trojans the very same month that feature aired. But after entering treatment, he bounced back by landing an assistant job at Alabama before making the leap to the NFL last February with the defending NFC champion Falcons. As for Sabathia, whose struggles at the time were equally troubling, he continues to produce for the Yankees post-treatment as he nears age 37, and it’s definitely great to see both men land on their feet again.

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