Ex-Cardinals general manager Steve Keim ‘much happier now’ after rehab stint

Apr 23, 2024, 4:10 PM

Steve Keim’s tenure as Arizona Cardinals general manager came to an unceremonious end following a disaster of a season in 2022.

After taking a leave of absence midway through a 4-13 finish due to health-related reasons, Keim and the team parted ways at the conclusion of the year. The Cardinals said at the time that it was for Keim to focus on his health.

That was until Tuesday when Keim joined the Unbreakable with Jay Glazer podcast and opened up about his leave of absence that included a rehab stint due to sleep and anxiety drugs.

“The scariest part was when I think we got to November of that season,” Keim said. “When you’re home, obviously being divorced and away from my kids is tough enough, but then at the same time, when you’re home at night and you come home from the job and you’re trying to decompress — instead of watching a TV show to kind of come down or even having a cocktail, I got to the point where I didn’t want to do any of that.

“I could not wait to take an Ambien or Xanax or both to go to bed, because for me, that was a way to let the pain go. As soon as I could get to bed and make myself go to sleep, that was my ability to shut the world off. The problem is the next morning you wake up and the pain was still there. It didn’t go away.”

Keim added he was simply not enjoying life anymore dealing with the burdens that came with being an NFL executive. He struggled without the ability to vent or work through stressful situations.

“There were times where you almost felt alone,” Keim told Glazer.

It was at that point Keim realized that something had to change or he was “going to die, quite frankly.”

“Leading up to it, I had enough people — friends, family, coworkers — Michael Bidwill our owner even came and sat with me multiple times and said, ‘Hey, you don’t seem like yourself.’ I didn’t know what it was but I also didn’t try to hide from it,” Keim said. “I told him straight up, ‘I’m not doing good. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.’ He was great, supportive, here for you.”

“I went to the treatment center and he and I talked and we both agreed (on parting ways),” the GM added. “After I went to the treatment center and thought about going back to work, in my heart and in my stomach, I couldn’t fathom going back into that office. We both thought it was best for the organization to move forward. Still love the organization and appreciate everything the Cardinals did for me.”

Now more than a year removed from his Arizona departure, Keim said he is in a much better space than he was just last year.

And while there are some aspects Keim misses about his old life, he’ll take his new one that includes better ways to work through stress and anxiety.

“Much happier now. When the paychecks stop coming and the fans stop screaming, there’s certainly an evolution of life that changes for you,” Keim said. “Things slow down and you miss certain parts of your life in the past, but at the same time, you can finally appreciate the small things. … To go on a walk and see a beautiful day and appreciate that changes everything.”

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