A Green Bay Packer Aldridge is a recovered
was found, homeless paranoid schizophrenic
and with a Super Bowl spoke on what he had to
ring. live through and how he
His brain chemistry was eventually beat his mental
amok, and once on
Lithium, etc., he is a ``I'm completely symptom
productive citizen free. I have no reminders of
again. my illness,'' Aldridge said.
``Giving programs like
LIONEL Aldridge these are like therapy for
Lost and found - Ex- me. I have the satisfaction
Packer Aldridge winning of saying `been there, done
life's battle that.'^''
Beloit Daily News – no
date on article Aldridge, originally from
Louisiana and now a
Lionel Aldridge was on top resident of Shorewood,
of life's mountain when he Wis., was a DE when he
won 3 world joined the Packers in 1963.
championships, including 2
Super Bowls, with the After his football career,
Packers in the 1960s. Aldridge moved behind the
microphone working as
Now, he's happy to have analyst for WTMJ as well
his head above water. as nationally for NBC.
During that time, & part of
Once I accepted and the Super Bowl VII
cooperated with the broadcast team.
treatment, I started to beat
the illness. Through those years,
Aldridge on his battle with Aldridge showed no signs
paranoia. of having paranoid
He lived the healthy, kind of treatment. Once I
normal life. accepted and cooperated
with the treatment, I started
``I really didn't start getting to beat the illness.''
sick until I was about 33,''
said Aldridge who is now He has spoke about his
56. ``I was working at battle since around 1987.
WTMJ and things just
started to fall apart. Yet, now that Aldridge is
completely healed, he does
``There was extreme it more for the people he is
paranoia and irritability and speaking to.
it was difficult for me to get
along with others. I was ``Speaking to groups has
unable to work. It was changed for me,'' said
rough.'' Aldridge. ``When I started, I
did it as a way to keep
Aldridge divorced. He was myself stable.
homeless from 1982-84
and then for a short time a He said there are ways, in
few years later, and simply addition to medication, to
lived day-by-day to survive. get through the illness that
people suffering from the
He returned to Milwaukee disease may not know
where, with the help of about.
friends, sought treatment
for his illness ``The medication is
important, but it doesn't
``I didn't consider myself a cure you.
drifter; I was just a victim of
schizophrenia,'' -- who lost I won with the things I did to
both of his Super Bowl help myself and people
rings while he was who may be suffering now
homeless. ``I had gone 10 or people who may know
years without getting any someone who is suffering
can hear that. were to lead him to
homelessness and then partial
recovery as a speaker on
mental health issues. He never
Lionel Aldridge, 56,
completely overcame his
Stalwart On Defense for
As a 21-year-old rookie out of
February 14, 1998 Utah State in 1963, he created
a stir by starting for the
Lionel Aldridge, a defensive Packers.
star on the great Packers
teams of the 1960's whose The gruff Lombardi would not
post-playing years were normally install a rookie as a
marked by mental illness, was starter. But the 250-pound
found dead by a daughter Aldridge, was 6 ft 5, found his
in his apartment. niche at right defensive end
and anchored the position for 9
He weighed 408 1/2 seasons -- including
pounds and had an enlarged championship campaigns in
heart, ''consistent with 1965, 1966 and 1967, when the
congestive heart failure and Packers won three world titles,
obesity.'' including the first two Super
Mr. Aldridge seemed on a path
to become a figure in the ''Lionel was a terrific success
television booth following his story that had some holes in it,''
retirement from the in 1973 said his longtime friend Jim
after 11 seasons. He became Irwin, who has broadcast
an analyst for the Packers and Packers games on radio for 29
then for NBC. years. ''He was a big, friendly
He worked Super Bowl VII for
the network after the 1973 But Mr. Irwin noted that Mr.
season. Aldridge had mood swings as a
player: ''he'd be 'up' one day
and then the next day he'd
But on the cusp of broadcasting
snap at everybody.''
stardom, he suffered the first of
many bouts of depression that
Mr. Irwin recounted an instance He once fell asleep in his car
– near the Great Salt Lake, not
knowing how he got there. Yet
''I asked him the first there were days and months of
question of the day and he lucidity when he was helped
stared straight ahead,'' Mr. immensely by his medications.
Irwin said. ''He never took
his eyes off the 50-yard line
for the next three and a half He became a spokesman for a
hours and never said mental health organization in
another word.'' Milwaukee and traveled widely,
discussing problems of the
At the height of the Packers' homeless with mental health
success in the mid-1960's, Mr. professionals.
Aldridge, then in his early 20's,
began making appearances on He is survived by 2 daughters,
WTMJ radio and television. Michelle and Angela, and one
When his playing career ended
in 1973 following his two last He described his ability to hold
seasons, with the San Diego a job at the post office in
Chargers, he made a seamless Milwaukee, and said his $550-
move into broadcasting. But a-month pension did not cover
there were moments when all his medical debts.
was not smooth. He once froze
at a typewriter, unable to write ''I like myself,'' he said last
or move until solicitous October. ''I don't have bad
colleagues led him away. days. I deny there is such a
thing as paranoia.''
In the late 1970's, he began to
hallucinate. He had himself
hospitalized and variously
described his problems as
schizophrenia or depression.
After he was divorced from his
wife, Mr. Aldridge disappeared
from Milwaukee and became a