Dick Butkus is one of the greatest defensive players in the history of the NFL. He's also been around long enough to notice the increase of performance-enhancing drugs in football and other sports.
It's because of that increase that Butkus has taken on the task of educating young people about the dangers of steroids.
His I Can Play foundation aims to teach young athletes the benefits of playing clean and the negative effects using performance-enhancing drugs can have.
"I Play Clean is just an effort on my son and my part to give back to football by just educating high school kids that there are dangers in taking steroids and PEDs and it's not necessary," Butkus said Thursday on SportsTalk Live. "If you eat well, train hard, play with attitude you can reach your goal. But nowadays, we're always looking for shortcuts. Unfortunately we've got coaches at a young level even giving out steroids to their children. We just want to educate them and say, 'Look, we've got proof from a cardiologist who ran a test on 40 former bodybuilders, power-lifters, I think one was a former Mr. Universe, all steroid guys, and the results were their circulatory system is like someone 30 years older than them.' And he said, 'Dick, for kids in their adolescent years like high school, these kids are going to be having heart attacks when they're 40, 35.' So let's just do it smart, just educate them. This carrot is so big, pro, big-time, the money involved, getting scholarships. It's a tough road, it's a tough decision. But hopefully if we educate them — 'Look, it's not worth risking your health.'"
Butkus will be at the United Center on Friday night during the Blackhawks game against the Nashville Predators. The Blackhawks will welcome him to the game, and I Play Clean will receive a portion of a split-the-pot fundraiser.
Listen to the entire interview with Butkus, including his thoughts on the Bears, in the video above.