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Marcell Dareus sought guidance from many people during his four-game suspension

USA Today’s Jarrett Bell provides enlightening look at the Bills star defender during his time away from the team.

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Turns out Marcell Dareus really didn’t go to rehab after all.

While that news may come as a surprise to some people, and rub those people the wrong way, as a reminder, we actually knew about this a month ago, via a September 7 tweet from Tim Graham of The Buffalo News.

On the surface, this isn’t a great look for Dareus, but, as is usually the case, proper context is needed.

The decision made by Buffalo’s stud defensive tackle was explained in this article from USA Today’s longtime NFL writer Jarrett Bell:

Dareus said that in consulting with various professional experts, it was determined that he needed to address what he considered a root cause for some of his issues – attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) – over several years. Dareus was first diagnosed with ADHD while starring at Alabama.

Immediately, Dareus going to rehab to curb his substance-abuse issue seemed like a logical next step, especially after Dareus and the team announced that’s what he’d be doing. But, per Bell, professional experts deemed getting the bottom of Dareus’ ADHD was more important.

Also, Dareus went beyond the ADHD treament, according to Bell:

As he tries putting his life in order, he used the four-week suspension to assemble a support group that includes ADHD expert Dr. Ned Hollowell and a life coach, Jen Zobel Bieber. He’s also leaning on a credible football voice: Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith.

As mentioned in the USA Today article, Smith dealt with a similar issue and found himself in an identical situation to Dareus’ regarding discipline from the league early in his career.

In his fourth year as a pro, in 1988, Smith was suspended for the first four games of the season for a violation of the substance-abuse policy.

Also from Bell’s piece:

In addition to trips to New York City to consult with Hollowell and Bieber, Dareus spent four days during his suspension at Smith’s palace of a waterfront home in Virginia Beach, Va.

And this was the central theme of Smith’s advice to Dareus: “Think of yourself as if you are writing a book about your life. What type of book do you want it to be? Do you want a best-seller? Or something just to say that you wrote a book?”

That apparently has resonated with the 26-year-old, as Bell wrote: “The message hit home. Without prodding, the best-seller theme was the first thing that Dareus mentioned about Smith, who is now positioned as a mentor to lean on.”

The last quote from Dareus in Bell’s article: “It’s been tough. There’s been a lot to handle. But I’m getting older. It’s taken time. I’m getting over it. I’m getting as much help as possible to manage it and keep moving forward.”

Dareus’ nightmarish upbringing has unsurprisingly played a significant role in his problems, and it’s hard to blame him for that.

While we can’t predict the future, it sounds like Dareus is doing everything he can to make sure he’s able to tap into every ounce of talent he has.