Long before the term “Wildcat” became a regular part of the NFL vernacular, former Rutgers quarterback Ray Lucas made a living as a third-down/change-of-pace QB, most notably with the Jets and the Dolphins.

While seldom an everyday starter throughout his career, his time in the League took its toll.

From today’s NY Daily News:

Ray Lucas checked into Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, a West Palm Beach, Fla., drug rehabilitation center, on Friday to kick the painkiller addiction he developed during his NFL career.

Lucas has decided to write about his journey through drug rehab on Facebook to draw attention to what he calls the NFL’s indifference to retirees’ chronic health problems and to encourage other retirees with addiction problems to seek help. He also wants to promote Pain Alternatives Solutions and Treatment, the New Jersey medical group that has provided Lucas and other needy former athletes with pro bono surgery and care. “PAST saved my life,” Lucas says.

The page which currently has 620 fans and is described as “a collaboration between Ray, his wife Cecy & the P.A.S.T. Retired Athletes Medical Group…for fans, friends & family to follow along on his inspirational journey,” is a combination of sports meets reality TV which with it’s major platform being the ‘Net.

As players, past and present, continue to embrace new media and avoiding media filters by taking their message directly to their fans, Lucas’ experiment seems both unprecedented and most courageous.

It’s easy to express to fans your common happy-go-lucky everyday thoughts, it’s another to show them yourself as your most vulnerable.

With labor negotiations the main focus of the NFL off-season and retired players’ benefits a recurring theme over the last couple of years, one shouldn’t be surprised if more direct-to-fans sites and platforms pop up over the next few months.