ChiefsHuddle.com recently had the chance to ask Chiefs cornerback Eric Warfield and his agent Craig Domann some questions about his recent suspension. Find out what they both had to say in this exclusive interview.
BrooklynChiefsFan – Posted: Jul 13 2005, 01:22 PM: Thanks to both Eric and Craig for reaching out to the fans and offering this opportunity. I’m not a member of the Kansas City area, but think its great that you are taking the thoughts and feelings of the community into consideration.
Will you be hiring someone to act as your full-time driver, or at least someone like a security staff that can act as your designated driver when you decide to go out? Or perhaps have you tried giving up drinking completely as an alternative?
Eric Warfield: Since my DUI last September and going through Valley Hope and AA, I have made changes in my lifestyle, including hiring a driver, when needed. I recognize I cannot drink.
PriestMVP31 – Posted: Jul 13 2005, 01:50 PM: Who do you believe will start in your position in the 4 games you won’t be playing?
Eric Warfield: It will be a dog fight to see who will start those games. Like you, I will be watching as well.
HailGunther – Posted: Jul 13 2005, 02:01 PM: If someone is brought in to take your spot during the suspension what’s your position on the nickel package we keep hearing tossed around. Would you play it?
Eric Warfield: I want to contribute to the Kansas City Chiefs’ success. If that means playing another position, I will embrace the opportunity.
tjjohnson98 – Posted: Jul 13 2005, 02:05 PM: With this being your third conviction, it would seem that this is a problem that is very difficult for you to manage. However, in your interview with the KC Star a month or two ago, you seemed to indicate that you still think you can responsibly control your alcohol use.
With the dangers you have presented to yourself, others, and your career in the past, wouldn’t it be a better idea to give up alcohol completely, rather than try to “control” it?
Eric Warfield: I’m learning to deal with my situation. I recognize I cannot drink.
ttriplet – Posted: Jul 13 2005, 03:54 PM: This is the third time you have been caught driving under the influence. What are you doing to ensure that it doesn’t happen again?
Do you feel that you have let the fans down by your actions (being suspended)?
Eric Warfield: Since my third DUI, I have embraced by rehabilitation like never before and made changes in my lifestyle. I have come a long way. I figured out things about alcohol and about myself that I didn’t know before. I’m taking steps to make myself better, as both a person and a football player.
During the off-season, I attended Valley Hope for a month and joined Alcoholics Anonymous. I continue to attend regular weekly meetings with both organizations in addition to complying with my requirements of checking in regularly with my probation officer.
I accept responsibility for my mistakes and I recognize my responsibilities as a citizen and a public figure. I apologize to my family, friends and the Chiefs’ fans for letting them down. I’ve been blessed to have a second chance and to be able to make things right. I’m learning to deal with my situation. I recognize that I cannot drink.
Chief D – Posted: Jul 13 2005, 04:29 PM: Once your suspension is over, do you expect to get your starting spot back immediately? Even if whoever is starting in your place is playing well and if so, how difficult do you think it will be to get on the same page as the rest of the defense a month into the season when so many new defensive players have been brought in this year?
Eric Warfield: In the NFL Game, an athlete can never take his starting position for granted. It is a position earned, not given. I recognize that there are several talented CB’s anxious for an opportunity to take my spot. I plan to continue to earn my starting position.
Craig Domann: Just to clarify, Eric has full participation and membership on the Kansas City Chiefs’ team. This includes his attendance at the Chiefs’ Training Camp, team meetings, practices, pre-season games – everything. The only restrictions of the suspension are related to participating in the first four regular season games.
Jesse-James – Posted: Jul 13 2005, 05:59 PM: I think the thing that stands out the most about this situation is the legal punishment. The fact that it was a felony and you were only sentenced to ten days in jail bothers me and many others. I think that the almost $800,000 you will lose over the four game suspension will hurt much more than the ten days in jail. I’ll happily do three months for that kind of money. But my point is do you feel yourself that you got off easy. If so, do you think that will impair your judgement in the future when it’s time to hand over your keys?
Craig Domann: Since the beginning Eric has accepted responsibility for his actions. He has not tried to evade the justice system. He has complied with authorities at every level. He has not tried to use his professional athlete status or money to persuade the justice system to treat him differently. He has been accountable for his actions and complied with everything they’ve asked him to do, including attending an alcohol treatment program, Valley Hope, and AA. Part of his probation includes weekly meetings with his probation officer, AA meetings and meetings with his counselor from Valley Hope.
To address your question directly, Eric has accepted that which was dealt him by the justice system and has not asked for any special treatment.
Eric Warfield: I recognize my mistakes and I take full responsibility for my actions. Drinking and driving is wrong. I’ve been blessed that no one was hurt due to my irresponsible actions. I recognize that I cannot drink. I’m learning to deal with my situation.
SuPeRmAn – Posted: Jul 13 2005, 09:21 PM: What have you done in this off-season to prepare yourself best for the upcoming season?
Craig Domann: The thing Eric has done the most during this off-season is to take a proactive approach to address his off-the-field issues so that his on-the-field performance speaks for itself.
ChiefsChick23 – Posted: Jul 13 2005, 09:32 PM: Will you be on the sidelines during your suspension? Besides losing the money for those four games, what’s the hardest part of sitting on the bench?
Eric Warfield: If they’ll let me, I’ll be there. As of right now, I haven’t been told if I’ll be allowed on the sidelines.
It’s been a long time since I’ve sat on the bench, so I’ll have to answer that one later.
DoNkEyHuNtER – Posted: Jul 14 2005, 12:07 AM: Hello Eric and I hope that you can bounce back from this, put it all in your past, and a Super Bowl ring on your finger. My question is, After you return from your suspension, obviously McCleon and Ambrose will battle for the Nickleback spot. But with the addition of Sammy Knight to play strong safety, and Wesley and Woods to battle for free safety, Say if Wesley wins the spot, What role do you believe Woods can play other than a back up? Jerome is a good safety….. but I just think Wesley has continued to improve and step up, (with the exception of last year), and i think his youth will win the spot for him.
But Jerome is too good of a player to just sit…..
Thanks and best of luck!
Eric Warfield: There are two safety positions in the Chiefs’ defense that are somewhat interchangeable. All three are going to compete for those two positions. The two that perform at the highest level during the pre-season will end up being the starters. The third one will have to be ready in case one of the starters gets injured.
KC-DREAMER – Posted: Jul 14 2005, 12:37 AM: Eric, Thanks for taking some time and answering our questions. I would like to know if you are still going to be able to practice with the team during training camp and during the 4 weeks you are suspended?
Craig Domann: Eric has full participation and membership on the Kansas City Chiefs’ team. This includes his attendance at the Chiefs’ Training Camp, team meetings, practices, pre-season games – everything. The only restrictions of the suspension are related to participating in the first four regular season games and his participation with on-the-field football practices leading up to those games.
Mvppriest – Posted: Jul 14 2005, 01:02 AM: Hey Eric being a season ticket holder let me just say I enjoy watching you play every Sunday. I’m also a big Husker fan and you were great in college.
My question for you is what was it like playing for Tom Osborne?
Eric Warfield: Tom Osborne is a legend. It was a pleasure playing for him and winning national championships with him. I was blessed to have played under such a wonderful coach and person.
D.T. 3:16 – Posted: Jul 14 2005, 03:31 AM: I for one am glad you’ve gotten yourself straight and look to put this latest incident behind you.
How have your teammates responded to this incident? Has the mood been supportive, and how do you feel they will treat you once you get back?
Eric Warfield: My teammates have been supportive. I expect them to continue to be supportive. When any of us have problems, we try to give our fellow teammate the support he needs so that he can move-on and perform at his very best.
NOLA Chiefs Fan – Posted: Jul 14 2005, 04:14 PM: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us Eric. I’ve really enjoyed watching your game grow and mature over the past few seasons, especially last year when things must’ve been tough, on the field and off. I read recently that you had Sammy Knight as a roommate when he first came to town. How have you enjoyed getting to know and to work with Sammy and with his fellow ex-Dolphin, Patrick Surtain?
Eric Warfield: I’ve enjoyed it a lot! They are both great guys.
SoCalChiefsFan – Posted: Jul 14 2005, 05:22 PM: My question to Eric is, why did you let yourself get to this position with the alcohol? I know it’s a drug and is very addictive just like nicotine, but after 1 maybe 2 DUI’s you would think you would get the hint that you have a problem. I’m not singling you out Eric because everyone knows this is a massive problem effecting families everywhere, but I think you have a world of talent and as a Chiefs fan I still love seeing you on the field and I want to see you represent our organization with class.
I’m a firefighter in Southern California and all too often I’ve seen what happens as a result of a DUI. You are very lucky that you and others have not been injured in an accident or even killed my friend. Please take care of #1 first and foremost, YOURSELF!! Then worry about the game and what you have to bring.
God Bless you Eric and good luck in everything that you do.
Valley Hope Counselor: An individual who gets a DUI is not necessarily an alcoholic. A person who gets two, three or more DUIs generally is an alcoholic. The alcoholic continues to drink in the face of adverse consequences. The alcoholic does not have lesser values or less of a conscience than normal drinkers.
Currently, nearly 14 million Americans – 1 in every 13 adults – abuse alcohol or are alcoholic. Several million more adults engage in risky drinking that could lead to alcohol problems. In addition, 53 percent of men and women in the United States report that one or more of their close relatives have a drinking problem (NIAAA).
It takes great courage to face this disease and a life long commitment to a program of recovery lived one day at a time to remain healthy.
warthog – Posted: Jul 15 2005, 12:38 AM: Eric, would you blame the Chiefs for trying to cover your absence in the first four games by signing a free agent?
Craig Domann: Eric recognizes that this is a business. Like with any company, when they know an employee will be absent, they must have a plan to complete the work. For the Chiefs’ they need to have a strong CB to fill that role during Eric’s absence. But don’t be fooled, Eric will be back and he will be stronger and better than before!
d54kckid – Posted: Jul 15 2005, 01:50 AM: First of all, thank you for taking time to answer these questions. Secondly, it has been wonderful to see your game blossom over the last few seasons. I am a long time Chiefs fan. I love the organization but my question deals with the issue of the revamping of Arrowhead. Do you feel, as you travel around the country, the facilities at Arrowhead are up to par with what you see in other cities?
Also, Do you guys (Chiefs players) ever come on boards like this one and read what the fans are thinking? Do you know of any coaches that do that? It sure would be nice to have you and your agent come on and post sometime.
Best of luck in the future, again, we all really appreciate you and your agent answering these questions.
Eric Warfield: We are very blessed to have a great facility at Arrowhead. Are there others that are better, newer, etc., sure, but when you take the football field, the facility doesn’t matter, it’s all heart and determination.
Yes, from time-to-time, I log onto this site to see what you guys are saying about me. So, be nice! I do take it personally. My job is to perform to the very best of my abilities and hopefully help the Chiefs’ rack-up another victory for the team and for you, our loyal and dedicated Chiefs’ fans!
BIGRED 88 – Posted: Jul 15 2005, 02:30 AM: Thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions Eric. It just goes to show what kind of a person and football player you are. As far as the DUI goes, man I just hope that you can put this behind you and move on with your life and intercept 10 balls this season. My question is with the new additions this year in the secondary (Patrick Surtain and Sammy Knight), along with the new additions at linebacker do you think this defense will gel and come together by the time your back on the field?
As a veteran in the secondary of this defense, your presence on the field will be missed during the first 4 games of the season!
Eric Warfield: Our defense is going to be better than ever. Our goal going into the off-season was to put together a defense that could be one of the top 10 in the NFL. A lot is coming together for us and we’re a dedicated group of guys who want to do our job to hold back our opponents from scoring thus helping the Chiefs’ to rack-up a win!
Thank you for your kind words of support. It means a lot to me.
Chiefs – Chiefshuddle.com: In closing the Q & A are there any feelings that Domann and Pittman would like to express on behalf of Eric Warfield?
Craig Domann: This experience has humbled Eric. He doesn’t feel like he is entitled to anything or any special treatment. Eric realizes that he has a unique opportunity to make a living as a professional athlete and that can be taken away very quickly. Eric is ready for this to be behind him. He is in a lot better shape physically & mentally than ever before. He is ready to embrace the future and, once again, prove himself on the football field.
Interview courtesy of: Domann & Pittman LLC – Sports representation and management