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Quinn Pitcock: NFL teams fear video-game addiction

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
A video-game addiction took Quinn Pitcock out of the NFL. Now teams are hesitant to bring him back.

According to Quinn Pitcock, if he struggled with alcohol or drugs, NFL teams wouldn't flinch. Those issues are familiar. His problem is unique.

Pitcock is addicted to video games.

"I'm somewhat of a pioneer," he told ESPN.com.

We shared some of Pitcock's story earlier this month. Drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 2007 out of Ohio State, the defensive lineman appeared in nine games and showed promise as a rookie, making his sudden retirement before the 2008 season all the more puzzling.

"It was a rash decision," he said. "As soon as I made it, I wanted to play right away, but I was scared they didn't want me back."

Things turned ugly. Pitcock, who calls himself an introvert, sunk into a daily regimen that included 18-hour sessions of Xbox online. "Call of Duty" was his mistress (Note: Ochocinco could tell a few stories), and for Pitcock, his addiction took on a dangerous tone, sucking up his energy, shoving friends and family to the side.

"The only way I could get my endorphins was by playing video games," Pitcock said, keeping the routine up for months. "I would break the games, try to get rid of them, but I couldn't stop. I'd say, 'Quinn, what are you doing?' Physically, I could not put down a video game."

The Colts helped connect Pitcock with a psychologist and his recovery began in earnest. Today, he's a member of the Arena League's Orlando Predators, but wants another shot at the NFL. Pitcock admits teams don't know what to make of his addiction.

"It's more on whether a team feels they can trust what I can do," Pitcock said. "I think teams are worried I may relapse. They're more comfortable with a drug addiction. It's unfortunate. It definitely hinders my chances."

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