To say that new Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Alex Boone would like to forget what happened on the night of February 1st, 2009 would be quite the understatement. Although, there is a good chance that Boone himself does not remember much from that night in the first place.
Not too many people who struggle with addiction or substance abuse are “lucky enough” to have their rock bottom moment covered by the national media. But due to the events that happened in the small, southern California town of Aliso Viejo, Boone can forever reference the person that he he used to be.
Since then, Boone has continued to separate himself more and more from the type of person who could once drink 30 to 40 beers per day. At a time in the NFL where stories of self destruction are far too common, Boone’s fight with sobriety is one that needs to be recognized.
A native of Lakewood, Ohio, Boone was the state’s top college prospect back in 2005 when he was a student at St. Edward High School. The 6’8″, 296 pound offensive lineman eventually decided to stay in his home state and play his college ball for Ohio State and head coach Jim Tressel.
As a freshman at Ohio State, Boone shared a room with current New Orleans Saints linebacker James Laurinaitis. Everything seemed to be going well for Boone after his first season with the Buckeyes until he was arrested for DUI during the spring of his freshman year.
This was Boone’s true wake up call as this arrest almost cost him his spot on the Ohio State football team. The arrest was the culmination of Boone’s destructive relationship with alcohol that began as early as the eighth grade.
Following his DUI arrest, Boone had his driver’s license suspended for 180 days, was fined $300, and ordered to attend an alcohol counseling program. Ohio State gave him a second chance at remaining a student as they felt he had laid out a successful plan to become sober.
It’s a whole new look on life. There are times I see beer, and I really want one, but I just walk away real fast. I realized I am a better man without it. . . . After a while you realize you don’t need that stuff, and you can have fun without it. – Alex Boone
During the next three years at Ohio State, Boone was able to keep his alcoholism under control. NFL scouts considered Boone to be a mid-round pick after his junior season, but the young lineman decided to return to the Buckeyes for his senior season.
His play seemed to decline during his final season at Ohio State, but nothing sealed his fate more in the draft than his alcohol related arrest in early 2009. Luckily for Boone, the San Francisco 49ers decided to give him a chance and signed the undrafted player shortly after the 2009 NFL Draft concluded.
In 2009, Boone was a signed as a member of the 49ers practice squad. He continued to put in the work necessary and was named San Francisco’s starting right guard in 2012 where manned that spot until 2015 when he switched over to become the team’s starting left guard.
His time spent in San Francisco helped turn him into one of the most intense and ferocious offensive lineman in NFL all without the influence of alcohol. The Vikings seem to be acquiring a lineman who will not only be an example for their players on the field, but off the field as well.
The story of Boone’s journey from almost being let go at Ohio State to being named a starter on Minnesota’s offensive line without even playing a snap for them is one that should be presented at the forefront of the league. More focus should be given to players like Boone who actually put in the time and effort to overcome an obstacle in order to accomplish their ultimate goals.