Steve Sarkisian addresses ‘disease of alcoholism’ head on during introductory press conference

By Jesse Reed

The Atlanta Falcons shocked the football world when they hired Steve Sarkisian to fill the void at offensive coordinator and replace Kyle Shanahan.

This was shocking for two major reasons. First off, Sarkisian had, less than two months prior to the move, signed on to replace Lane Kiffin as Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator at Alabama. Secondly, it hadn’t even been two years since Sarkisian was dismissed from his position as head coach at USC following alcohol-related incidents (more on that here).

Addressing the second issue head on during his introductory press conference, Sarkisian sounded like a man who isn’t taking his second chance at pursuing his coaching dream lightly.

“Everybody has issues that they have to deal with — some physical, some mental,” Sarkisian said Thursday, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN. “This happens to be an issue of mine that I work on daily. That is important to me so I can be the best person I can be, the best father I can be, the best coach I can be. And I’m diligent in that.”

Sarkisian also made it clear that he doesn’t view the “disease of alcoholism” as something that’s in his past.

“This isn’t something that is necessarily in my past,” Sarkisian said Thursday. “It is something that I have to work on every single day, that I do work on every single day because it is important to me. It’s important to who I am as a person.

“The disease of alcoholism is a piece of me. It doesn’t define me,” he continued. “I’ve got a lot more to offer than that. And hopefully over time, everybody here in Atlanta can get a feel for that, just who I am as a person and get to know me and really develop the quality relationships that are necessary to be part of a championship organization.”

While he didn’t divulge the specific treatment plan he’s been utilizing, it sure sounds like Sarkisian is taking his recovery seriously.

Addictions come in many forms, as Sarkisian alluded to, and we applaud him for battling his. We also look forward to seeing what he can do for the Atlanta Falcons organization, which is reeling after losing a 25-point lead in Super Bowl LI, then losing most of its offensive coaching staff, which Sarkisian has the tall task of replacing.