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In a lengthy profile by The Washington Post, former All-Pro NFL running back Larry Johnson shares details of his struggles outside of football and how the sport left lasting damage on him physically. In the profile, Johnson shares that the once-close relationship with Jay-Z ended via email after the player’s repeated run-ins with the law.

From the Post:

“There’s always a reason” for Johnson’s mistakes, says Tony Johnson, the ex-player’s brother and his day-to-day manager during his NFL career. “And sometimes he was the reason.”

Johnson could be cheerful and social at times, sullen and isolated at others. He collected slights and bad habits, to say nothing of the guns he kept strapped to his shoulders at high-end restaurants or under the seat of his white Bentley. Some nights he’d fire rounds into strangers’ lawns or palm a pistol at a gas station, he says, hoping someone would challenge him for a late-night lesson in toughness.

“Me against everybody,” he says, and on and off the field that became his code, driving him to rush for a combined 3,539 yards in 2005 and ’06 . His dominance and persona made him an A-list celebrity and opened doors to a friendship with Jay-Z and dates with R&B singer Mýa.

Whether it was brain injuries, immaturity, celebrity or some combination, Johnson says aggression became “a switch I couldn’t shut off,” and after a while Jay-Z cut him off via email for being arrested so often, Johnson says, and Mýa once stopped him from jumping from a window.

Read the rest of the stirring Larry Johnson Washington Post profile by following this link.

Photo: Getty