Titans receiver A.J. Brown shares battle with depression

AJ Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans. Source: TennesseeTitans.com.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown seemed to have everything going his way in 2020.

Posted: Nov 19, 2021 10:04 AM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown seemed to have everything going his way in 2020, having his best season yet in the NFL on the way to earning his first Pro Bowl honor.

Behind his big smile, Brown said Thursday he was battling so hard with depression back then that he thought of killing himself. He shared a video on social media Nov. 12 on the one-year anniversary of that dark time, encouraging people to ask for help, and Brown told reporters Thursday that's why he finally spoke up.

“It was a dark moment, and it was a year ago where I had thought about taking my life, you know? And it was special to me because it just came with my heart that I wanted to share with others and help others so much as I can," Brown said of sharing his own struggle.

Growing up in Mississippi, Brown said he always brushed off his feelings and didn't consider what depression really was. Brown wouldn't share what led to his depression. Those feelings wound up almost overwhelming him.

Brown said he thought long and hard about posting the video he recorded earlier on Nov. 12. He was nervous about whether he should share his personal struggle with the world. Brown described what gave him the courage to do it.

“I just wanted to put out a positive message that I’m still here,” Brown said. “I’m still growing. I’m still learning. I’m blessed. I’ve got a lot of things to be grateful for and someone was there for me. So reach out to your loved ones and ask them how they’re doing and listen to them, you know, because it’s important.”

The response to Brown's video has been very positive. Brown said a lot of men reached out, telling him what he shared was powerful. He also sat down with several Titans teammates who talked about their own struggles, which Brown says they need to do more often.

“You need to look out for one another,” Brown said. "I know we play this beautiful game, but you know, life is beautiful.”

Brown said it's easy to put on a smile and pretend everything is OK. He credits former Mississippi teammate and roommate Elijah Moore, a rookie wide receiver with the New York Jets this season, with helping him through his most difficult moments. He also reached out for professional help, which he's still using.

The receiver currently leads the Titans with 41 catches for 567 yards and three touchdowns.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Monday he appreciates Brown's courage in speaking up about mental health. The coach focuses regularly on the mental health of the Titans and said he is glad they've been able to provide a safe space for people dealing with the strain that being in the NFL can put on professional athletes.

“Hopefully his message can help somebody else feel comfortable to seek help, get things off their chest, to be able to talk through things, and I think that is a great example,” Vrabel said.

Vrabel added that the Titans discussed a college football player whose death in November 2015 was ruled a suicide and how his mother thought her son seemed happy. That struck home with Vrabel, father of two sons, with one playing football at Boston College.

“Having kids that are going to start going off away from college and moving on and having their own life, these are real things we all deal with,” Vrabel said. “It is great when people can, especially significant professional football players or athletes, are willing to address it and willing to make statements about it.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 848498

Reported Deaths: 16185
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1164292005
Mobile743961384
Madison53544738
Shelby38446371
Baldwin38207589
Tuscaloosa36168644
Montgomery34570782
Lee25677264
Calhoun22632520
Morgan22540411
Etowah20074520
Marshall18859318
Houston17790426
St. Clair16963359
Limestone16200220
Cullman16164306
Elmore15948295
Lauderdale15080307
Talladega14265302
DeKalb13093271
Walker12170380
Blount10782193
Autauga10561157
Jackson10217196
Coffee9439192
Colbert9374210
Dale9045192
Tallapoosa7286202
Russell710865
Chilton7097170
Covington6972197
Escambia6968144
Franklin6366108
Chambers5804142
Marion5445132
Dallas5303210
Pike5132109
Clarke486086
Lawrence4852130
Winston4799110
Geneva4655136
Bibb436295
Barbour370880
Butler3445101
Marengo342993
Monroe338566
Randolph337967
Pickens335090
Fayette332185
Henry321266
Cherokee320564
Hale319489
Crenshaw261778
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay253069
Macon246367
Conecuh193562
Coosa186048
Wilcox178538
Lowndes178468
Bullock152845
Perry141840
Sumter139841
Greene130745
Choctaw94628
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