Tony Mandarich

Ante Josip "Tony" Mandarich (born September 23, 1966) is a former American football offensive tackle who played in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons. He was drafted in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft by Green Bay Packers as the second overall pick. He also played for the Indianapolis Colts.

Referred to as "the best offensive line prospect ever",[1] Mandarich was highly touted during his collegiate career at Michigan State, leading to his high selection in the 1989 draft by the Packers. However, Mandarich was unable to live up to expectations and was released following four seasons with the team. After five years away from football, he returned with the Colts, whom he spent his last three seasons with. Ultimately becoming the only top five pick in his draft class to not be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Mandarich is considered one of the biggest NFL draft busts.[2]

Tony Mandarich
No. 77, 79
Position:Offensive tackle
Personal information
Born:September 23, 1966 (age 52)
Oakville, Ontario
Height:6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight:330 lb (150 kg)
Career information
College:Michigan State
NFL Draft:1989 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:86
Games started:63
Fumble recoveries:2
Player stats at

Football career

Mandarich was born and raised in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, the son of Yugoslavian immigrants. After his older brother John received a scholarship to play football at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, John convinced his parents to allow Tony to play his senior year of high school football at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Kent to improve chances of receiving a scholarship.[3] Recruited to Michigan State University by defensive back coach Nick Saban, Mandarich played in the 1988 Rose Bowl, was named as a First-team All-American, an Outland Award finalist and a two-time Big Ten Lineman of the Year. Upon his entry into the 1989 NFL Draft, both scouts and media (most notably Sports Illustrated, which did a cover story on him, nicknaming him "The Incredible Bulk")[2] began trumpeting Mandarich as the best offensive line prospect ever, touting his "measurables", "He weighed 330, ran the 40 in 4.65 seconds, did a standing long jump of 10' 3", leaped vertically 30" and bench-pressed 225 pounds an unheard-of 39 times". He appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated twice and was also a colorful character, illustrated by such instances as challenging then–Heavyweight Boxing Champion Mike Tyson to a fight, missing scheduled public appearances due to being drunk or hungover, his well-documented love of the band Guns N' Roses (he had a dog named Axl and also a tattoo of the cross-design from the cover of Appetite for Destruction on his arm), and referring to Green Bay as "a village".[2]

Going into the 1989 draft, Mandarich was considered the best prospect for an offensive lineman ever and a top-five pick. Mandarich was selected second overall by the Green Bay Packers.

Drafted as an offensive tackle, Mandarich never lived up to the very high expectations set for him. After a lengthy holdout, which was not settled until one week before the regular season kickoff, he spent most of his first year on the special teams unit. He was also known for having attitude issues. He was quoted "I am not like other players, I am Tony Mandarich, and they have to understand that. If they don't like it, that is just the way I am and they are going to learn to like it."[2] After three seasons of lackluster performance on a four-year contract, Mandarich was cut in 1992 by the Packers citing a non-football injury.[2] Mandarich is often referred to as one of the top 5 bust NFL draft picks of all time, having been drafted second overall and ahead of such to-be NFL stars as Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, Deion Sanders, Steve Atwater, Eric Metcalf, and Andre Rison. The September 28, 1992, cover of Sports Illustrated featuring Mandarich labelled him "The NFL's Incredible Bust".[4]

The question of steroid use has been discussed as a possible factor in Mandarich's spectacular failure. Mandarich did not admit his steroid use until 2008. Until then, he publicly blamed his work ethic—in a 2003 Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article: "I wanted to create as much hype as I could for many different reasons—exposure, negotiation leverage, you name it. And it all worked, except the performance wasn't there when it was time to play football." However, the first Sports Illustrated cover story included allegations of steroid abuse in college, including acne of his arms and premature balding.[5]

After getting cut by the Packers, he went to Traverse City, Michigan, for two years, addicted to drugs and alcohol.[2] His family checked him into a rehabilitation clinic on March 23, 1995, and he became sober.[2] Mandarich returned to football for three years between 1996 and 1998 with the Indianapolis Colts. His career with the Colts was generally solid, and his play was dependable enough that he started all 16 games during the 1997 season. Mandarich retired from football in 1998 due to a shoulder injury.

Post-football career

After his career was over, he moved back to Canada; he owned a golf course and remarried his wife Char in 2004.[2] From September 2004 until September 2005, Mandarich served as an NFL analyst for The Score TV sports network in Canada. He quit in October 2005 and moved to Arizona.[2]

He now runs a photography studio; he began doing nature photography as a hobby in 1990.[2] Mandarich has expanded his business, named Mandarich Media Group, to include photography, video production, web design, search engine optimization, and Internet marketing.[2]

In September 2008, Mandarich admitted to using steroids at Michigan State and faking a drug test before the 1988 Rose Bowl. Mandarich has denied using steroids while in the NFL but has admitted to an addiction to alcohol and painkillers while playing for the Packers.[6]

Tony had an older brother, John, who was instrumental in his development as an athlete, including sponsoring his younger brother's transfer to an American high school before Tony's senior year. John made his own reputation in professional football in the Canadian Football League. John Mandarich's early death from skin cancer is documented in Tony's memoir.

In the March 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated, he tells about his use and addiction and about his book called My Dirty Little Secrets—Steroids, Alcohol & God.[2] In that book, Mandarich ascribes his underwhelming performance with the Green Bay Packers to his painkiller addiction, which buffeted his drive and work ethic. His addiction was such that he kept syringes in his athletic supporter to have his narcotics supply close at hand. Mandarich goes on to describe his traumatic and triumphant stint in rehabilitation, and his subsequent return to the NFL. "I didn't write the book for forgiveness," Mandarich said. "I wrote the book for explanation and for, hopefully, helping somebody see the light that there is hope for addiction or alcoholism and that you can change and save your life."[2]

In 2009, Mandarich was sued by his former girlfriend for posting explicit photographs of her online.[7]


  1. ^ "Most Popular". CNN. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Weber, Jim. "Tony Mandarich is enjoying life behind the camera". 22 April 2011. Yahoo!. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  3. ^ Pierson, Don (April 21, 1989). "Mandarich`s Size And Skills Block Reality Off The Film". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  4. ^ John Biever/SI. "Tony Mandarich - OT, No. 2 overall, Green Bay Packers, 1989 - Top Draft Busts of the Modern Era - Photos -". Retrieved October 18, 2010.
  5. ^ "Most Popular". CNN. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  6. ^ "NFL bust Mandarich says he used steroids at Michigan State but he was one of the greatest linemen ever - NFL - ESPN". ESPN. September 30, 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
  7. ^ Ray Stern/Phoenix New Times. "Tony Mandarich, Ex-Green Bay Packers Player, Sued by Ex-Girlfriend Over Explicit Online Postings". Phoenix Sun Times. Retrieved June 19, 2009.


  • Mandarich, Tony; Sharon Shaw Elrod (March 2009). My Dirty Little Secrets - Steroids, Alcohol & God: The Tony Mandarich Story. Modern History Press. ISBN 978-1-932690-78-1.

External links

1987 All-Big Ten Conference football team

The 1987 All-Big Ten Conference football team consists of American football players chosen as All-Big Ten Conference players for the 1987 college football season. The organizations selecting All-Big Ten teams in 1987 included the Associated Press (AP) and the United Press International (UPI).The 1987 All-Big Ten teams were led by Michigan State tailback Lorenzo White and Indiana wide receiver Ernie Jones, who were selected as the Co-Big Ten Players of the Year. White led the conference with 16 touchdowns from scrimmage and finished second in the conference with 1,572 rushing yards. Jones led the conference with 66 receptions and 1,265 receiving yards. Other individual award winners included Wisconsin quarterback Tony Lowery as the 1987 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

1987 Michigan State Spartans football team

The 1987 Michigan State Spartans football team represented Michigan State University in the 1987 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team went 9–2–1 overall and 7–0–1 in conference play, becoming Big Ten Conference champions. Michigan State beat USC to win the 1988 Rose Bowl, and finished the season ranked #8 in the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll. The first game of the season, also against USC, was the first night game ever at Spartan Stadium.

1988 All-Big Ten Conference football team

The 1988 All-Big Ten Conference football team consists of American football players chosen as All-Big Ten Conference players for the 1988 NCAA Division I-A football season. The 1988 Michigan Wolverines football team captured seven of the first-team spots on the All-Big Ten teams selected by the conference coaches for the United Press International. The Iowa Hawkeyes followed with six first-team spots, including quarterback Chuck Hartlieb.

1988 CFL Draft

The 1988 CFL Draft composed of eight rounds where 64 Canadian football players were chosen from eligible Canadian universities and Canadian players playing in the NCAA. This was the first draft not to feature a Montreal franchise, as the Alouettes had folded just before the start of the 1987 regular season. This was also the first national draft to feature only eight teams.

1988 College Football All-America Team

The 1988 College Football All-America team is composed of college football players who were selected as All-Americans by various organizations and writers that chose College Football All-America Teams in 1988. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recognizes five selectors as "official" for the 1988 season. They are: (1) the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA); (2) the Associated Press (AP) selected based on the votes of sports writers at AP newspapers; (3) the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA); (4) the United Press International (UPI) selected based on the votes of sports writers at UPI newspapers; and (5) the Walter Camp Football Foundation (WC). Other notable selectors included Football News, the Gannett News Service, Scripps Howard (SH), and The Sporting News (TSN).

1988 Michigan State Spartans football team

The 1988 Michigan State Spartans football team represented Michigan State University in the 1988 NCAA Division I-A football season. The Spartans played their home games at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan and were coached by George Perles. The team finished second in the Big Ten Conference with a 6–1–1 conference record, and a 6–5–1 overall record. Michigan State was invited to the 1989 Gator Bowl, losing to Georgia 27–34.

1989 Green Bay Packers season

The 1989 Green Bay Packers season was their 71st overall and their 69th in the National Football League. The Packers posted a 10–6 record, their best since 1972, but failed to make the playoffs. The team was often referred to as the "Cardiac Pack" due to several close-game wins. The 1989 Packers hold the NFL record for most one-point victories in a season with four. The team was coached by Lindy Infante and led by quarterback Don Majkowski, who attained his nickname "The Majik Man."

1989 NFL Draft

The 1989 NFL draft was the procedure by which National Football League teams selected amateur college football players. It is officially known as the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting. The draft was held April 23–24, 1989, at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, New York. The league also held a supplemental draft after the regular draft and before the regular season.

The draft is noted for having four of the first five players selected – quarterback Troy Aikman, running back Barry Sanders, linebacker Derrick Thomas, and cornerback Deion Sanders – being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Offensive tackle Tony Mandarich, the only top five pick not inducted, is considered a draft bust.

The 1989 NFL Draft also helped set a major precedent, as Barry Sanders was selected with the third overall pick despite an NFL rule stating that collegiate juniors could not declare for the draft.

1990 Green Bay Packers season

The 1990 Green Bay Packers season was their 72nd season overall and their 70th in the National Football League. The club posted a 6–10 record under third-year coach Lindy Infante, earning them a fourth-place finish in the NFC Central division.

1991 Green Bay Packers season

The 1991 Green Bay Packers season was their 73rd season overall and their 71st in the National Football League. The club posted a 4–12 record under coach Lindy Infante, earning them fourth-place finish in the NFC Central division. 1991 was the last season the Packers played under Lindy Infante.

1997 Indianapolis Colts season

The 1997 Indianapolis Colts season was the 45th season for the team in the National Football League and 14th in Indianapolis. The Colts finished the National Football League’s 1997 season with a record of 3 wins and 13 losses, and finished fifth in the AFC East division. The Colts would start horribly, losing their first ten games for their worst start since 1986. They became only the second team to start 0–10 since 1987 after the 1993 Bengals, before an upset home win over eventual NFC Champion Green Bay. That would turn out to be the only good highlight all season for the Colts, as the team fell to a league-worst 3–13 record, and earned the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, where they selected quarterback Peyton Manning and created a dynasty for the Colts during the 2000s.

1998 Indianapolis Colts season

The 1998 Indianapolis Colts season was the 46th season for the team in the National Football League and 15th in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Colts finished the National Football League's 1998 season with a record of 3 wins and 13 losses, and finished fifth in the AFC East division.

Coming off a 3–13 season the year before, the Colts drafted quarterback Peyton Manning with the first overall pick. Manning would mark the beginning of a new era for the Colts, as he would lead them to their 2nd Super Bowl title 9 years later.

This season was Marshall Faulk's last with the Colts as he was traded to the St. Louis Rams in the off-season. He had his best seasons in St. Louis, helping the Rams to two Super Bowls in 1999 and 2001 and winning the league's MVP in 2000.

Big Ten Conference football individual awards

Coaches and media of the Big Ten Conference award the following individual honors at the end of each football season. In addition, the Chicago Tribune awards the Chicago Tribune Silver Football to the most valuable football player of the conference.

Croatian Canadians

Croatian Canadians are Canadian citizens who are of Croatian descent. The community exists in major cities including the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Windsor, and Montreal.

Popular events celebrated in the Croatian-Canadian community include the Canadian-Croatian Folklore Festival (held in eastern and western Canada) and the Croatian-North American Soccer Tournament.

List of Green Bay Packers players

The following is a list of notable past or present players of the Green Bay Packers professional American football team.

Michigan State Spartans football

The Michigan State Spartans football program represents Michigan State University in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level. The Spartans are members of the Big Ten Conference. Michigan State claims a total of six national championships (1951, 1952, 1955, 1957, 1965, and 1966); the AP Poll voted Michigan State as national champion one time (1952). They have been named national champions twice in the Coaches Poll (1952 and 1965). The Spartans have also won two Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships (1903 and 1905) and nine Big Ten championships (1953, 1965, 1966, 1978, 1987, 1990, 2010, 2013, and 2015).

The Spartans home games are played at Spartan Stadium, which is located on the main university campus. Spartan Stadium has ranked among the NCAA's Top 25 in attendance for 61 consecutive seasons, from 1953 through 2016. The Spartans' current coach, Mark Dantonio was hired on November 27, 2006. The team's iconic Spartan helmet logo has been ranked as one of the game's best.

Rory Leidelmeyer

Rory Leidelmeyer is an American bodybuilder who competed in the 1970s and 1980s. He is a former Mr. America and trained former football player Tony Mandarich. He also appeared in the Shaquille O'Neal film Kazaam (1996).

UPI Lineman of the Year

The United Press International Lineman of the Year award was given annually by United Press International (UPI) to the lineman of the year in college football. With the demise of UPI in 1997, the award was discontinued. Offensive and defensive linemen were eligible, including offensive ends, with one, Howard Twilley, winning in 1965. Like all UPI college awards at the time, it was based on the votes of NCAA coaches. Ross Browner of Notre Dame was the only two-time winner.

White Oaks Secondary School

White Oaks Secondary School (WOSS) is a secondary school located in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

The school has north and south campuses, across the road from each other. The north campus was formerly known as General Wolfe High School, and used to be attended by students who had different levels and types of learning capabilities than those of the south campus. The school now acts as a whole, and students can take classes at North or South campus - the old division between the schools is gone. The north campus offers hands-on technical programs such as hairdressing, child care, autobody and carpentry, as well as classes for students with a wide range of disabilities, and English Language Learner programs (ELL), and is the location for recognized Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Programs (OYAP) and the Ford Academy of Manufacturing Sciences (FAMS). However, it is reported to have a history of drug and substance abuse. White Oaks also offers French at the immersion level, and offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme. In the Fraser Institute's report on Ontario schools for the 2012-2013 year, the school was ranked 39 out of 740 secondary schools with an overall rating of 8.3/10.The Film Production and IB Film Studies program (Communications Technology) at the school is an advanced program with both Mac and PC labs. Formerly lead by teacher turned Hollywood film producer, Dale Andrews, the program is known for sending more students to post secondary film schools than any other school in the province of Ontario with graduates attending NYU, Ryerson University, Vancouver Film School, Humber College and Sheridan College.

Special teams

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