Montee Ball finding redemption outside of professional football

With being selected by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, Montee Ball had high expectations for his career. Yet, his hopes were far from correct, and what could have been a promising life in the NFL, self destructed due to alcoholism and domestic violence arrests. He detailed his journey in an interview with Sporting News.

Ball’s alcoholic dependency first began during his time at the University of Wisconsin, where he put together an impressive collegiate career. While in Madison, Ball earned the title of being the top scorer in Division I/FBS history with 77 rushing touchdowns and 83 overall scores. The running back also claimed the 2012 Doak Walker Award after putting up 1,850 yards and 22 touchdowns is senior year.

Yet, this success did not translate into the professional world as Ball hoped.

“I started to drink a lot more and it started to pour into football,” said Ball in an interview with Alex Marvez with Sporting News. “If I knew we had a super-easy practice the next day, I’d go out and get drunk with a whole bunch of people. I’d wake up drunk, hit the steam room and go to practice.”

This formula did not lead to the success that the next level demanded, despite Ball putting up 559 rushing yards and four touchdowns in his rookie season.

“All in all, I was very fortunate to play for the Broncos. They were my favorite team as a child. My ultimate goal was to play for the Broncos. But it wasn’t what thought I thought it would be. It’s a very lonely, lonely world,” said Ball. “(The NFL) is a very money-driven organization that kind of takes away from the joy of the sport.”

As Ball became more engrossed with the nightlife of Denver, he began to surround himself individuals who did not have his best interest at heart.

Ball’s 2014 sophomore season began on a high note with being named the starter, but was cut short due to a groin injury. Prior to his 2015 season, the Broncos released Ball. The Wisconsin product never was able to bounce back, even though he had a short stint with the New England Patriots.

Following his NFL struggles, Ball’s true adversity began with the accusations of two domestic violence cases. Although Ball is adamant about his innocence, he accepted a plea deal where he served a 60-day jail sentence, 18 months probation and mandatory alcohol and domestic-violence counseling.

What seemed like a downward tailspin eventually came to a stop with the birth of his son, Maverick Ball.

“That was the turning point,” Ball told Marvez. “I finally realized I have a purpose – to raise that kid. That’s a responsibility I will take.”

On top of raising Maverick, Ball is taking on the task of being a full-time student. In that time, the former Badger is hopeful to start a charitable foundation, as well as writing a book about alcohol awareness and his personal struggles.

“I’m really focused on improving my image and relationships that I destroyed,” said Ball. “I let down the fans, the entire University of Wisconsin and my family. I want people to know I am deeply sorry.”