Rehab was right decision for Abraham

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Cardinals linebacker John Abraham looked healthy when he met the media for the first time this training camp on Thursday.

His face was a little rounder, his cheeks a little fuller. He said he’s been eating more candy and hasn’t been working out much. He said he looks “big as hell” and can’t run as well as he would like. He said he isn’t close to the 248 pounds he finished last season but didn’t want to look at a scale to see how much he weighs.

But when he reported to camp nearly three weeks after it started, all the Cardinals wanted to see was a healthy Abraham.

League sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter that between the time of Abraham's DUI arrest and his return to the Cardinals, Abraham spent some time in a rehab facility.

Abraham has a problem with alcohol, and he's getting help. And that’s why Cardinals coach Bruce Arians handled Abraham’s absence the way he did. It was labeled a personal matter and Abraham was excused. Arians was confident the football side of Abraham’s life wouldn’t suffer and would wait until the personal side of Abraham’s life was back on track.

“He’s all about helping the players,” former New York Jets coach Herm Edwards said of Arians, who Edwards has known since the early 1980s. “If [Abraham’s] got an issue, Bruce is going to make sure he sits down with him and helps him through his.

“Bruce is about that, and that’s why players love playing for the guy. I know what kind of guy Bruce is, and they couldn’t have a better guy when it comes to that.”

Edwards, who coached Abraham in New York from 2001-05, benched Abraham for a game when he was arrested for DWI in Long Island in 2003. He thought Abraham grew from that experience.

But Abraham put himself in a bad situation when he got into a car drunk and drove away from an Atlanta strip club. He later passed out at an intersection and had to be awakened by police, according to the police report. The incident in June was his third alcohol-related arrest since 2003.

Hopefully Abraham's stay in rehab will help him turn his life around.

As Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals 23-year-old rookie, said in early July about Josh Gordon, another NFL star who dealt with off-the-field issues, sometimes the bottom is where someone needs to start.

“Most of the time it takes people to hit rock bottom for them to start believing in their self and start seeking help,” Mathieu said.

Maybe that Sunday afternoon in Georgia was the bottom for Abraham.

Abraham said his DUI and rehab stint were minor compared to some of the other obstacles he’s overcome in life, such as his mother having cancer and his grandfather dying.

“A lot of stuff in my life hurt me more than this did,” Abraham said. “This is another bump in the road, but the bump is not as big as the hill that I’ve gone through, so I’m just going to take it as that. I’m just going to try to move on.”