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Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a drinking problem

The former Bucs tight end sought and found help, and has been sober for four months.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a drinking problem, but has sought help and has now been sober for 129 days. That’s what the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end told ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

Seferian-Jenkins was arrested for a DUI in September of last year, which led to the Bucs releasing him and the New York Jets signing him. That didn’t stop Seferian-Jenkins from using alcohol as a crutch, though, as he didn’t actually stop until January of this year.

"It's not like I was dependent on it; I was dependent on self-medicating myself so I could deal with s---," he said. "Once I figured out what was going on, I got help. I went to the doctor and figured everything out. "I've been straight. It's not like I'm f-----g dying. It's not like I craved it, wake up in the morning and I need a drink. It was just like, I'm having a tough time, I'm dealing with something, it's 6:30 p.m. and let's crack one back."

Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Doug Martin were two of the Bucs’ biggest on-field disappointments last year, and both of them were apparently coping with substance issues. Martin entered rehab at the end of last season, too, and has regained his spot at the top of the Bucs’ depth chart—as far as we can tell, anyway.

Whether Seferian-Jenkins can now live up to his potential on the field remains to be seen, but it’s good to see him dealing with any issues that he had.

It’s also a reminder that NFL players aren’t just there for our enjoyment: they’re people, who deal with all of the same issues that people in general deal with—sometimes exacerbated by the violent, all-consuming nature of their jobs, and the NFL’s dependence on heavy-duty painkillers.