Mandarich Media Group Photography Video Production Web Design SEO Internet Marketing, Ante Josip “Tony” Mandarich (born September 23, 1966) is a former football offensive lineman of the NFL. He was the first round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1989, second overall behind quarterback Troy Aikman, and ahead of the third selection, running back Barry Sanders, the fourth selection, linebacker Derrick Thomas, and the fifth selection, cornerback Deion Sanders. Mandarich is the only player of those five not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He is tied with Charles Rogers as the second highest drafted Michigan State player ever (behind Bubba Smith). He is also the highest-drafted Canadian-born player in NFL history. In 1989, Sports Illustrated called him “the best offensive line prospect ever”, but he is now considered one of the biggest busts in NFL history.
Playing at Michigan State University, 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”)
Going into the 1989 draft, Mandarich was considered the best prospect for an offensive linemen ever and a top 5 pick. Unheard of for an offensive lineman, Mandarich was selected 2nd 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.” After three seasons of lackluster performance on a four-year contract, Mandarich was cut in 1992 by the Packers citing a non-football injury. 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.”
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.”
After getting cut by the Packers, he went to Traverse City, Michigan for two years addicted to drugs and alcohol. His family checked him into a rehabilitation clinic on March 23, 1995 and he became sober. Mandarich returned to football for three years between 1996 and 1998 with the Indianapolis Colts. He had a more successful, if not particularly noteworthy, career with the Colts, and even started all 16 games during the 1997 season before retiring from football in 1998 due to a shoulder injury.
After his career was over, he moved back to Canada; he owned a golf course and remarried his wife Char in 2004. 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.
He now runs a photography studio; he began doing nature photography as a hobby in 1990.
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.
Tony had an older brother, John, who was instrumental in his development as an athlete, including sponsoring his younger brother’s transfer to a stateside 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.