Tag Archives: aaron douglas

Aaron Douglas played for Vols and Bama before dying because of drugs jh39

Aaron Douglas played for Vols and Bama before dying because of drugs jh39

Aaron Douglas was a lineman for Alabama and I have already written about another Bama lineman by the name of Barrett Jones who was a teammate of Aaron’s. Here are the two links below:

Barrett Jones of Alabama Crimson Tide (Part 1 of series “Christians in Athletics”) September 24, 2011 – 8:21 am

This Saturday is the famous “Third Saturday in October” series between Tennessee and Alabama but Aaron Douglas will not be there. Here is a story that ran in the paper yesterday.

World of hurt: Aaron Douglas’ death still pains parents, Alabama

Published: Thursday, October 20, 2011, 9:14 AM     Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2011, 9:15 AM

karla-douglas-aaron-douglas (1).jpgView full sizeKarla Douglas hugs her son, Aaron Douglas, during his high school senior night.

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — The clothes still embrace his scent. 
Journals preserve his handwriting, and the words reveal the creative flow of his mind.
Each time Karla Douglas and David Douglas begin packing away his room, vivid memories of their son open their emotions.
Karla seeks therapy. David goes hunting to think. Five months after Aaron Douglas died from a drug overdose at a house party in Florida, his parents still weep often for their son. 
Aaron was an offensive lineman at Alabama when he died May 12, his body discovered on a second-floor balcony after a random visit to a house party in Fernandina Beach, Florida, where he was vacationing. 
The thought of Aaron alone in his most vulnerable moment has been difficult for his parents to grasp.
Aaron was 21, but had always been “Momma’s boy,” Karla said. He once said in a song to his father, “Pops, you’re the man for always having my back.”
“He died all alone on that balcony,” Karla said, “and we were not there to help him.”
aaron-douglas-77-.jpgAaron Douglas, wearing 77, was a 6-foot-7, 275 pound offensive tackle at Alabama.
Aaron wanted to earn a college degree and play in the NFL. At 6-foot-7, 275 pounds, he was a physical phenomenon with enough talent to compete for the starting offensive left tackle spot at Alabama. After starting his career at Tennessee, he would have been at the center of attention during this rivalry week.
Aaron also challenged himself through music, penning rap lyrics he could pound out through his mouth. He hoped one day to own a recording studio.
Football and music were his passions, and he would cling to them living in the sparse desert landscape of Yuma, Arizona, one of the nation’s small border towns in the southwest corner of Arizona on the California border.
This was the place where he would wrestle back control of his world.
“His decision to go 1,989 miles away from home was a welcoming challenge,” Karla said. “He grew as a player and a person, and we saw a young man excited about life and football again.”
286237_10150268490528297_582948296_7571482_560304_o.jpgDavid Douglas (pictured), was an offensive lineman for Tennessee. Aaron Douglas, his son, followed in his footsteps and took No. 78 after he moved from tight end to offensive line.
The way Aaron’s collegiate career began was a dream for his parents. He attended Tennessee, where mom and dad had been athletes.
When Karla and David were married, Phillip Fulmer promised their yet-to-be-conceived son a football scholarship.
Aaron thrived in orange and white, making the transition from tight end to tackle. When he learned he was moving to the offensive line, he called David, then switched to jersey No. 78, the number his dad wore in college.
On the football field where linemen such as Anthony Munoz had been carved, Aaron proved worthy by earning freshman All-American honors in 2009.
But off the field, Aaron’s world had unraveled.
As a redshirt freshman, he began abusing prescription drugs, Karla said. She said Aaron was introduced to them by “several upperclassmen.”
“This had been going on, undetected, for months and after the third coaching change in less than two years, Aaron fell into severe depression,” Karla said. “We were so proud of him when he acknowledged his problem and asked for help.”
That’s how Aaron made the decision to leave Tennessee and regroup at Arizona Western, a junior college with a reputation of offering football players a place to resurrect their collegiate careers.
“Before he left for AWC, he spent many days and nights writing and recording ‘Lyrical Rehab,'” Karla said. “And out in Yuma with no car and not much to do, he also spent many hours writing and recording. We saw him grow from a tired, depressed, hurt boy into a smiling, happy, focused young man.”
Not surprisingly, Aaron thrived in a place void of the many signs of life he was accustomed to in Tennessee. 
On the field, he earned All-American honors recruiting interest from some of the nation’s top programs. The process energized Aaron because he never truly experienced it coming out of high school. Most programs assumed he was a lock for Tennessee. 
Aaron ultimately signed with Alabama last winter and joined Matadors’ teammate Jesse Williams, who is a starting defensive end with the Crimson Tide.
“We were friends in junior college,” Williams said last month. “After transferring here, we kind of stuck together.”
Aaron was brought to Alabama to compete for the starting left tackle position vacated by two-year starter James Carpenter, now with the Seattle Seahawks. He competed throughout the spring with Alfred McCullough.
After three weeks, Alabama experimented with Barrett Jones, who made the move from right guard. Few could have anticipated the move would stick, especially due to circumstances out of their control.
“I still think about it when I see the locker,” Jones said. “It’s weird to see him gone.”
ashley-douglas-aaron-douglas.jpgAaron Douglas with his younger sister, Ashley.
“May 12 was like any other day,” Karla said. “Ashley (Aaron’s younger sister) off to school. Karla to work, and David working in his office. … Around 10 (a.m.), coach (Jeff) Stoutland called David to see if we had heard from Aaron. We both started calling and texting him over and over. Coach Stoutland called David again, and David heard concern and worry in his voice and asked what was going on.”
Word began to spread before Stoutland’s call through various websites.
Karla was on her way to a 12:30 p.m. appointment when her husband called. Stoutland had conveyed Internet reports that Aaron had been in a fatal car accident or died at a party.
“I pulled into the parking lot and called information for the police station,” Karla said. “I spoke with an officer and I recall him saying, ‘We have him. He is deceased, and we haven’t released anything to the media.'”
Social media left clues to the last hours of his life. Police later filled in some holes.
Aaron Douglas, 21, died May 12, according to a Florida medical examiner’s report due to a “multiple drug toxicity” of methadone, diazepam and carisoprodol. 
Karla and David both stressed Aaron had no issues with drugs at AWC or Alabama.
Rodney Young Odum, 50, was arrested in August and charged with manslaughter and sale/delivery of a controlled substance (Methadone). He has pleaded not guilty. Four others were charged with throwing an open house party.
Witnesses said Aaron was seen as late as 2 a.m. at a house party he attended while on vacation. Staying in Jacksonville, Aaron answered a call from two local women, then directed his taxi to drive him to the home where he later died.
His last words are like scattered bread crumbs. On his Facebook page his last entry was May 10: “Anyone who’s in Jacksonville, FL hit me up.”
On May 11, Douglas wrote on his Twitter account about meeting a person, who “accomplished 12 purple hearts” in Vietnam. He later sent a Tweet about the Miami Heat’s performance against the Boston Celtics. Then he wrote, “Bout to kick it with my new friends Emily!!”
His final message: “Who’s still up right now?!?”
Police responded to a call at 8:13 a.m. after a male resident and others discovered Aaron’s body on a second-floor balcony “apparently deceased.” 
Aaron was pronounced dead at the scene.
298265_2219189197385_1177309831_32105813_1514002825_n.jpgAlabama is wearing stickers on its helmets to recognize two tragedies. The houndstooth ribbon acknowledges the April 27 killer tornado outbreak across the state. The No. 77 recognizes the death of Aaron Douglas.
This week, Aaron’s parents will attend the Third Saturday in October wearing crimson and white. 
They anxiously anticipated the day they would watch their son face their alma mater for the first time playing for Alabama.
Aaron started for the Volunteers in 2009 when Alabama defeated Tennessee 12-10 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in a win preserved by a Terrence Cody blocked field goal in the final moments.
Those thoughts will be weighing on the minds of some.
“I wasn’t in the country when it happened. (Aaron’s death) kind of hit me by surprise,” Williams said. “I came back from working out in Australia and my dad told me. It was a bit of an emotional thing. I feel really bad for his family and everything they’ve had to go through. I try and go out there and represent not only myself, but Aaron as well when I’m playing. I just wish all the best for his family.”
Alabama coach Nick Saban, who has two children, said the loss has affected the entire program, and has made him come to terms with a unique approach.
Alabama is wearing black stickers on its helmets with Aaron’s No. 77, and the media guide has a portrait of Aaron on Page 3, the years of his life 1989-2011 below. 
The school also has left his locker vacant.
“I never had a player die before,” Saban said in July. “I have a tremendous amount of respect and a completely different feeling talking in front of our team now. Maybe you take it for granted that they’re all always going to be there. It’s probably the same thing with your children at home if you’ve ever lost one. These things all have a tremendous impact and change the perspective of things.”
Aaron’s Facebook account remains a living tribute to his memory. 
Dozens of people posted self-portraits holding candles, a virtual candlelight vigil on Sept. 19, which would have been his 22nd birthday. 
There are photos of Aaron through the years. A painted portrait of him at Tennessee with an embrace with his mother in the background.And a video rap tribute for Aaron and his younger sister, Ashley, who shared the same birth date.
Aaron’s father dreamed about his son every night for two months and still does on occasion. He now has a tattoo over his chest that reads, “RIP AD.”
What Karla and David remember about Aaron: He was tough. Aaron gave himself a cross tattoo when he was 15.
“He played most of his high school senior season with completely torn labrums in both shoulders and would not have surgery to not let his team down,” Karla said. “He had foot surgery the week after the A-Day game to remove a golf-ball-plus-sized bone. The doctor was amazed that he was walking, much less finished spring at Alabama.”
They said Aaron was kind and sensitive.
“He was always thinking of others,” Karla said. “He had a genuine smile that would go straight to your heart and he shared it.
“He stood up for people when they were being ridiculed or bullied. Every negative word that was said or written about him ripped his heart in two. When fans in Neyland booed the 2009 team, it hurt him to the core.”
Aaron could handle the criticism.
“When it got malicious and hateful,” Karla said, “he could just never understand why people had to be so cruel and hurtful.”
And he was their son.
“For the first few weeks after his death, I put his cologne on one of his favorite hoodies and slept with it,” Karla said. “I have two shirts in my closet to see and touch and I have listened to many of his songs, so I can hear his voice. 
One of the songs, ‘Keep Your Head High,’ played at his service, Aaron says, ‘Momma I love you and you have your son back.’ This brings comfort along with tears.”

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