Drug allegations against Tim Couch

PART 1: Road to recovery | PART 2: The nutritionist | PART 3: The chemist
PART 4: The comeback | PART 5: The product | REPORT: Drug allegations
Couch on Laxogenin


Documents obtained by Yahoo! Sports indicate quarterback Tim Couch had regimens that called for the use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone while he attempted to revive his NFL career after a three-year hiatus from the league.

The regimens outlined in the documents with Couch's name printed across the top called for extensive use of drugs banned by the NFL.

Couch, the No. 1 pick in the 1999 NFL draft, told Yahoo! Sports he briefly took HGH – which is banned by the NFL – in hopes the drug would help him recover from shoulder surgery. But he denied using steroids or any other banned drugs and said he never had seen the documents.

The documents allegedly prepared for Couch were provided by a source who requested anonymity because he said he fears for his safety. He is a former associate of Brian Yusem, a self-styled nutritionist in Boca Raton, Fla., who has worked with Couch since January 2006.

Yusem called the documents "worthless" and added, "Just because somebody prints something and says this is the protocol I would suggest doesn't mean somebody has the obligation to do it or did it."

The source also said he saw Couch being injected with steroids in Yusem's office and saw Couch pick up steroids and HGH at Yusem's office.

Yusem stressed that privacy laws prevent him from disclosing anything about Couch's treatment, but he said Couch was under the care of a licensed physician and that nothing illegal took place. "All I'm doing and all I care about is helping people," Yusem said. "That's why I've surrounded myself with professionals and properly licensed professionals to do what I was not licensed to do."

In previous interviews, Yusem denied Couch used HGH or steroids and largely attributed the quarterback's dramatic gains in strength to a product they call Laxogenin, which Couch has endorsed in a videotaped testimonial.

Couch, 30, was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 18, and a Jaguars spokesman said the team was unaware of allegations that Couch had used steroids and HGH. Dan Edwards, the Jaguars spokesman, said the decision to release Couch was based solely on the team's logjam at the quarterback position.

"We had five guys and that's all it was," Edwards said last week. "I don't know anything about these allegations anyway, but that had nothing to do with our decision."

Couch said he passed a drug test when he signed with the Jaguars on July 29.

"If I took that much steroids I wouldn't have passed the steroid test in Jacksonville," he said last week. "There's no way in hell. It doesn't matter what that (steroid regimen) says. It matters what I took. I know what I took and what I didn't take."

An email the source produced shows one regimen for the use of steroids and HGH was sent by an employee at Yusem's company, Maxim Rejuvenation, to an email address Couch used to correspond with Yahoo! Sports. But Couch said he never had seen the email or the steroid regimen that was sent as an attachment.

"The bottom line is I was not in the NFL during any of the period of time (when the regimens called for the use of steroids), so that also makes me feel like, what's the story?" Couch said. "… I don't know where this stuff comes from. I don't know where you got any of this."

The anonymous source also provided steroid regimens allegedly prepared for a renowned professional bodybuilder, a retired NFL player, a college football player, a former college football player, a former college basketball coach and a competitive motorcycle racer.

If Couch rejoins the NFL, he could face disciplinary action based on information from league spokesman Greg Aiello. A free agent or retired player who attempts a comeback remains subject to the NFL's drug policy, according to Aiello, who in an email wrote that a player "will be subject to discipline if we have sufficient proof that he used a banned substance without an acceptable medical justification. Merely being prescribed it by a doctor is not enough."

Concerned about the possible sanctions, Couch said, "I'm not saying I did it, but what if I did do it? What happens then? … What does this mean for me?"

Couch has undergone two surgeries on his right shoulder since February 2005 and has been working with Yusem during his rehabilitation. With Yusem's guidance, Couch said, he increased his weight from 210 to 245 pounds and reduced his body fat to 4 percent from 17.5 percent. Couch said the dramatic gains resulted from an improved diet, regular training and natural supplements. He said his previous playing weight was 230 pounds but he dropped to 210 pounds after his surgery.

The documents outline regimens for the use of steroids and other drugs banned by the NFL during three cycles of more than two months.

The first regimen outlines a 72-day program and is dated Jan. 26, 2006, which was the same month Couch visited Yusem for an initial consultation, according an employee at Maxim Rejuvenation.

The second regimen outlines an 80-day program and is dated Sept. 18, 2006, about three months after Couch had a second operation on his right shoulder. The third regimen outlines a 55-day program and is dated Nov. 27, 2006.

The steroids listed on the regimen include stanozolol, oxandrolone and testosterone cypionate. The regimen also called for the use of Nolvadex, which suppresses estrogen levels, and fluoxymesterone, which is used in hormone therapy.

Though Couch told Yahoo! Sports he used HGH for about a week, under a doctor's care, the regimens the source provided called for 30 injections of HGH during the 72-day regimen and 26 injections of HGH during the 55-day cycle.

Couch played five seasons for the Cleveland Browns, who cut him after the 2003 season. He signed with the Green Bay Packers in 2004 but was cut before the regular season started, and shoulder injuries thwarted his subsequent comeback attempts until this year.

Late last month, Couch signed a two-year contract with the Jaguars, but the deal was contingent on his making the final roster. The team released him a week after Couch played in the Jaguars' preseason opener. It was Couch's first appearance in an NFL game since the 2004 preseason. He completed 2 of 4 passes for 11 yards and was sacked twice during the two series he played.