Darryl Johnston is Now Hawking a Medically Questionable Testosterone Booster

It's possible that there exists, somewhere, a human being manlier than former Cowboy Darryl Johnston. Maybe some real-world version of the Old Spice guy. But Johnston, a legendary fullback with a square jaw, three Super Bowl rings and the uber-masculine nickname "Moose," is certainly a close second. Johnston all but oozes testosterone.

And that right there might be his problem. Johnston went on WFAA yesterday to reveal his long-hidden secret: His testosterone levels are chronically low.

"Fatigue became an interruption in the things that I did on a day-to-day basis," Johnston told health reporter Janet St. James. "First, I had the conversation with myself, 'Is this what life is going to be for me moving forward or is there something else there?'"

Johnston, too manly to accept a life of fatigue, called his doctor. He was diagnosed, he says, with low testosterone and began getting treatment. Now, a newly reinvigorated Johnston is taking to airwaves to raise awareness of "low-T."

It's probably not a coincidence that the former Cowboy's public awareness crusade coincides with his role as a pitchman for AndroGel, the most popular testosterone-replacement product on the market.

AndroGel, like its rivals, markets itself by suggesting that symptoms one might otherwise attribute to aging -- fatigue, reduced sex drive, weight gain -- might actually be a sign of low testosterone. The condition is, the AndroGel website notes, "estimated to affect millions of men in the U.S."

The medical community, at least those members who aren't on the AndroGel payroll, aren't sold on such products. There's a consensus that severely low testosterone is a treatable medical problem, but, as a study published in 2010 concluded, the marketing campaigns are casting an overly wide net.

"If someone is low in energy and is 65, that might be entirely compatible with his general life and -- let's face it -- decline," Dr. Ike Iheanacho, the editor of Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, where the study was published, told Reuters. "It would be entirely normal."

So, Johnston's shilling for a testosterone-replacement product of questionable medical efficacy, but it could be worse. He could be shilling for a medically questionable male-enhancement product, a la former coach Jimmy Johnson. That one's a classic:

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson