“He was a man amongst boys….” He was astrong-willed renaissance man, admired by friends. The son of a Gaithersburg surgeon, the charming focal figure of some Montgomery Village kids… barbecue perfectionist and restaurateur, the former undrafted free agent who carved out a nine-year NFL career on the offensive line, and the husband and father of three…
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, November 9, 2008; Page D01
On the last night of his life, Tom McHale arrived at the suburban Tampa apartment of Martin Jackson, a 29-year-old furniture salesman McHale had met only a few months earlier at the drug rehabilitation clinic they attended. McHale had been staying at the one-bedroom apartment in Wesley Chapel, Fla., after a falling-out with his wife.
According to the account Jackson later gave Pasco County sheriff deputies, McHale was drunk when he stumbled through the doorway at 10 p.m. At some point, he inhaled cocaine and swallowed no fewer than three Xanax pills. He also told Jackson he was looking forward to going to rehab the next day.
At 8:30 the next morning, according to Jackson’s account, Jackson awoke to find McHale sitting on his couch, crumpling a just-finished can of Coca-Cola and eating leftover pie. Then McHale got up, walked past the clothes that were strewn about, entered the apartment’s lone bedroom and settled into the ruffled sheets on Jackson’s bed.
About 45 minutes later, Jackson noticed that McHale wasn’t breathing. He called 911, dragged McHale onto the floor and administered CPR. McHale vomited just as paramedics arrived, but they could not revive him.