Mother of Denver Broncos Shaun Phillips Reveals Former Addiction Ahead of Super Bowl

By McCarton Ackerman 01/30/14

After saying that her addiction was a low point in his life, Phillips expressed how proud he was of his mom for getting clean and sober 20 years ago.

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As Denver Broncos linebacker Shaun Phillips gears up for the biggest game of his life at this Sunday’s Super Bowl, his mother Sherri Clements opened up about her drug addiction that haunted his childhood. Phillips said his “ultimate low” was when his mother went to rehab over an addiction that left the family in financial ruin. Clements gave birth to the NFL star in North Philadelphia when she was 16 years old and relied on her mother, Jacqueline, to help raise him while she finished high school.

But the stress of “trying to, I guess, keep the family together” is what she said led to her substance abuse. She spent most of her paycheck on drugs and admitted that being homeless would have been likely if not for her family. “I couldn’t say it was like really bad where we were living in the street, but it was bad enough where you don’t have a job, you’re going back home, trying to salvage what’s left of your life with a child,” she said. “It wasn’t like we were in the streets, but it was getting to that point. It’s just that you’re spending money on something that you really know that you shouldn’t be buying.”

Clements eventually attended an inpatient rehab facility and began going to NA meetings for about a decade. It was hearing the horror stories of others at the meetings that made her realize “it wasn’t a way of life that I wanted to lead.” Phillips said that his mother has now been clean and sober for over 20 years and he couldn’t be prouder of her. “She had a problem,” he said. “She got out of her problem, fixed her problem and never went back to it.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.