Doggone it. As it turns out, the reason that ex-NFL tight end Joseph Fauria gave for spraining his ankle in 2014 -- chasing his puppy down the stairs -- was too good to be true.
At the time, Fauria, who was with the Detroit Lions, said he missed two steps while chasing after his 3-month-old Pomeranian/husky mix, Lil' Rufio, at his apartment after Week 3 of the NFL season. While bracing for a fall, he put his 265-pound frame on his left foot and sprained his ankle.
"He was about to pee and I was like, 'Come here you little ... nugget,'" Fauria said then. "I wasn't running but I was chasing him downstairs and I just misstepped ... and I just didn't end up well."
But that wasn't the true story. Fauria said in a recent podcast of his that he suffered the injury while playing volleyball, which he originally had dismissed in 2014 as a rumor.
"When I come down, I come down on just ankle, left ankle," Fauria said of how he suffered the injury while playing volleyball with neighbors. "This most amazing, shocking pain that I've ever felt in my entire life shoots up my leg, and immediately I'm like, 'Career's over.' ... That's how much it hurt."
Instead, fearing the Lions wouldn't pay him for injuring himself for playing another sport, Fauria put the blame on Lil' Rufio.
"Did I want to lie to my head coach? No, but I was thinking about myself," Fauria said. "... [Friends] told me that if the team, the organization, the Lions found out I was playing volleyball and I got hurt playing volleyball, that they could exercise the option of not paying me."
Fauria wound up playing just two seasons in the NFL, and he never played another down after returning in November and catching six passes during that 2014 season.