Catching Up With: Tom Zbikowski

It wasn't that long ago that Tom Zbikowski was on top of the world.

A punt return touchdown in Notre Dame's epic battle with #1 USC in 2005 was the highlight of back-to-back All-American seasons in South Bend, he made his pro boxing debut in front of a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, and became an NFL starter with contending Ravens teams. However, during his last NFL season in Indianapolis, things spiraled out of control for the fan-favorite - depression, addiction, an exit from the league, and broken relationships littered along the way.

Zbikowski opened up about all of it with us today during a wide-ranging conversation for our Catching Up With series. Besides looking back on his career and trek down a dark path, he also talked about celebrating his five-year sobriety anniversary and is getting back into the ring and classroom again. Listen:

 

Here's a rundown of our conversation with Tom Zbikowski:

1:28 The USC punt return TD

4:30 Growing up wanting to be in boxing

5:38 Where his toughness/fight came from

7:06 The moment when he realized he needed to turn his life around

9:32 His close relationship with Chuck Pagano, who he says he let down

13:29 Losing his passion for football

16:08 Denying hard hits or CTE played any kind of a role in his depression

18:34 The root of his addiction

20:46 Playing for Charlie Weis

22:10 Why he chose Notre Dame

24:10 Dabbling in coaching

25:24 Favorite boxers

28:05 A day in the life of Tom Zbikowski

32:30 What he would tell people struggling with addiction

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