Sports | November 19, 2021 10:34 am

Tennessee Titans Star Receiver A.J. Brown Reveals Battle With Depression

Brown, 24, encouraged people to ask for help a year after he had thoughts about taking his own life

A.J. Brown of the Titans warms up prior to facing the Los Angeles Rams
A.J. Brown of the Titans warms up prior to facing the Los Angeles Rams.
Ronald Martinez/Getty

On the afternoon of Halloween during Atlanta’s 19-13 loss to the Panthers, Falcons star wide receiver Calvin Ridley revealed why he wasn’t on the field with his team.

“These past few weeks have been very challenging, and as much as I’d like to be on the field competing with my teammates, I need to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental wellbeing,” he posted on Twitter.

Less than three weeks later, another star wideout in the NFL, A.J. Brown of the Tennessee Titans, talked about his own struggles with mental health and encouraged other people to ask for help if they are struggling with depression.

In a video posted on social media, Brown spoke openly about a dark point in time last November when his depression was hitting him so hard that he considered taking his own life.

“I posted it because I wanted to encourage others to seek help whenever they are down,” Brown said of posting the video. “I didn’t know, didn’t really take into consideration what depression really was. I always just brushed it off. That’s how I grew up. I just brushed off my feelings and it got the best of me I just wanted to put out a positive message that I’m still here, I’m still growing, I’m still learning. I’m blessed. I’ve got a lot of things to be grateful for. Someone was there for me, so reach out to your loved ones, ask them how they are doing. And listen to them, because it’s important.”

In addition to mentioning Tennesee head coach Mike Vrabel and his former Ole Miss teammate and current New York Jet Elijah Moore as sources of support, Brown pointed to his daughter as a motivating factor in his life.

[She’s] the reason I am still going today,” he said. “I don’t even have the words for it. She gives me strength, and she is who I play for. Without my little girl, I don’t know where I’d be.”

 Brown, who leads the AFC-leading Titans with 41 catches for 567 yards and three touchdowns, stressed that depression can’t always be seen and that what people display on the outside doesn’t always indicate what’s going on inside.

“I know for me, walking around with a smile, that’s easy to put on – everybody can do it,” Brown said. “But when we go home, some of us have real-life problems. That’s why I said: Just talk to someone, reach out.”

That’s something more and more star athletes across all sports are starting to do and it’s a very good thing.