Perhaps because covering a Bill Simmons book signing is beneath him, Newsday’s Wally Matthews visited a Westbury, NY Barnes & Noble earlier this week, to observe Bill Romanowski autographing copies of “Romo, My Life on the Edge: Living Dreams and Slaying Dragons” for the adoring public.
There was the middle-aged lady with the orange hair who practically floated away from the table sighing, “Big guy! Big and good-looking!”
Or the schoolteacher who brought her 15-year-old son and marveled, “I never thought he’d be so mild-mannered. I got a definitely different perspective of him. He’s a gentleman.”
Still, she didn’t want her name in the paper for fear that her association, however fleeting, with an admitted steroid cheat might cost her tenure.
Then there were those who liked the old Romo just fine. “If you ever asked me to name an NFL guy who was on steroids, I’d say Romanowski,” Bill Schiraldi of Glen Cove said. “But so what? If you were afraid someone was going to take your job, you’d do anything to stay on top.”
“I came to a point near the end of my career where I was always searching, always pushing,” Romanowski said. “And I got to a point where somebody presented a substance to me that was not on the banned list … and me being a guy that pushes the limit, in fear of losing my job at the end of my career, not being able to do what I love to do … well, when morality and ambition collide, what wins out? For me at that point, it was ambition.”
It’s a nice little speech, delivered sincerely if a bit robotically, and it may well be true, but to buy that Romanowski only resorted to chemical help near the end of a 16-year career marked by violence uncommon in its viciousness even for the NFL, never missing a game because of injury, is to, well, buy his book.
Because if Romanowski wasn’t in the grip of ‘roid rage when he committed mayhem on Collins and Meggett and Stokes and Williams, then clearly this man was a near-homicidal maniac who belonged not on the football field, but in solitary.