Hansen: Hamilton must avoid path of former D-FW sports great

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by DALE HANSEN

WFAA

Posted on February 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 4 at 1:57 PM

Josh Hamilton's battle with addiction has been a problem for a long time. And as most people who deal with addiction will tell you (and as Josh Hamilton will tell you),  it's a problem that never goes away.

Hamilton is heading into the final year of his contract with the Texas Rangers and was hoping to sign a new, long-term deal before the season starts, but it is doubtful that will happen now.

And Hamilton knows he has bigger issues to worry about - his family, first. His life, second. And the Rangers, third.

There is a great deal of support for Hamilton now, and there should be, as he is one of the Rangers' very best players. But if Hamilton can't control the demons he deals with, he'll find out as others have before him that star players with addiction problems go to rehab.

Old guys who can't play? They go to jail.

"I'm getting to the point where I understand, and like I told you, I do understand," Hamilton said Friday. "I can't take a break. And that goes from what I said before - you know, there's nobody who feels worse than I do.

"But I'm going to do everything I can to lean on some shoulders, and hopefully I can get back to the point where people can lean on mine again," Hamilton continued.

"That's real," said Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels. "When we heard about this, our thoughts were with Katie [Hamilton] and his daughters, and Josh, and how he was going to handle it. I told Josh yesterday that my thoughts went to after baseball. Hopefully he plays a long time and is able to affect people positively, as he does. But at some point, that's going to come to an end."

Which is the bigger problem.

Hamilton brings to mind former Dallas Mavericks forward Roy Tarpley. Tarpley, who played for the Mavs from 1986-1990 and again in 1994-95, was plagued by addiction his whole career.

Early on, Tarpley was probably the best player the Mavericks have ever had. He had a great deal of support early on. Then, he blew out his knee and was unable to play any more, and everyone turned their back on Tarpley.

It could be Josh Hamilton's future if he doesn't get the help and the control that he so desperately needs.

E-mail dhansen@wfaa.com

 

 

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