Longform

Fight, Team, Fight!

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By that time, unfortunately, Kay had turned to crimes against people. He pleaded guilty to a July 1990 charge of trespassing, destruction of private property and disturbing the peace.

Kay's career as a Bronco came to an end in February 1993, right after he was arrested for violating a restraining order brought by a former girlfriend named Patricia. He had run her off a road and then followed her to her apartment and refused to leave. Earlier, according to the allegations, he had punched her in the face as she slept and then stalked her. Too bad his career was over, because he still had his old elusiveness: When police went to arrest Kay, he jumped from a second-story window and avoided capture for an hour before turning himself in.

New girlfriend Jennifer proudly stood by her man until Kay beat her up in Las Vegas in September 1993. Upset because someone sent her flowers, Kay pushed Jennifer down, kicked her in the back, dragged her to the edge of a twentieth-story balcony and punched her in the face with his right fist. "I was trying to defend myself," she told reporters at the time. "But there is not much you can do. I'm 110 pounds, he is 230-some pounds."

One of her co-workers at a Denver auto dealership told reporters: "I've seen her come in beaten and bruised. I've seen him pick her up outside the dealership and try to carry her off. I confronted him when he was doing that. I said, 'Put her down and get out.' And he did. This has been going on for a year and a half."

And it continued. Kay took $700 worth of Jennifer's clothing from a dry cleaner and threw it in a dumpster. In 1995, after violating Jennifer's restraining order numerous times, he pleaded guilty to reduced charges. In 1996 he was arrested for stabbing a paramedic.

That one he didn't do.
Plaguing Jennifer? That he continued to do.
By March 1997, he was still banging on her door and sideswiping her boyfriend's cars. Threats of jail did no good until July 1997, when police picked up Kay while he was stalking Jennifer at her home yet again. He had already been arrested a dozen times for violating her restraining orders; he was put away for 540 days.

"I am ashamed for my family and friends and for myself to have to go through this, because I know in my heart that what I did was wrong," Kay told the Post in a jailhouse interview. "I feel like I have disobeyed the court order."

Kay last surfaced--in print only--last September, when he told a Rocky Mountain News reporter in another jailhouse interview, "I know it'll be hard for people to believe, but I'm serious about turning my life around. A lot of good is coming out of this."

Yeah. He's off the streets.

LYLE ALZADO
A street-tough kid from Brooklyn, Lyle Alzado entered college in South Dakota weighing 190 pounds. He joined the Broncos as a 260-pound beast and over eight seasons became a local hero. From 1971 to 1978, he anchored the Orange Crush defense and helped lead the Broncos to their first Super Bowl. A shameless self-promoter, he garnered national attention. In 1977 he danced in the ring at Mile High Stadium with Muhammad Ali. He was sweet enough to visit kids in the hospital--so sweet that he won the league's community-service award in 1977. He was so mean that even his teammates didn't mess around with him when he was in one of those "moods."

A 1978 autobiography, written with Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman, recounted Alzado's colorful story. Then his career really took off. First he went to the Cleveland Browns, and then he landed with the Oakland Raiders, where he fit in well with the other mad dogs and swashbucklers. Before the 1984 Super Bowl, he said of Washington quarterback Joe Theismann, "I'm going to tear his head off." No one doubted it. He started an acting career. Toys were named after him. He was a regular on late-night talk shows.

Lyle Alzado was everything: kind, generous, mean, arrogant, always on the edge. "We were camping on the edge of reality," he once said. And he was a liar. In 1991 Alzado came down with a rare form of brain cancer. He went public with the story that a life of steroid use was responsible--a secret he had kept hidden during decades of self-promotion. His image flooded the airwaves and talk shows. No longer a burly beast with curly hair, he was gaunt and wore a bandanna on his head to cover the hair loss caused by chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Sports Illustrated put him on the cover under the headline "I Lied," in a story in which he exposed his years of injecting steroids and human growth hormones. He revealed that he had spent up to $30,000 on steroids some years. He hit the talk-show circuit, begging for money for treatment and for programs to help others stay off steroids.

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Ward Harkavy
Contact: Ward Harkavy