What happened after you left the N.F.L. in 2015?
I went back to school to get my degree. I spent the next several years interning at various places in real estate and finance. But it’s been really challenging to build and maintain relationships when you are dealing with a chronic issue like depression or potentially C.T.E. You tend to be more miserable, that can make it challenging. I would say in the past six years, that’s really been the biggest frustration for me, this inability to build a second career because I’ve tried.
Do you follow football?
I still enjoy the game. My relationship overall with football for me was a net positive. It got me into a great school, paid for my education, and I had an opportunity to play professionally, being a high draft pick and the benefits that go along with that. Then obviously there were some consequences and complications while I played. The way I look at it is I played football so hopefully my kids don’t have to.
What was your what was your reaction when you saw Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles?
It felt pretty powerful to see people at the top of their game and top of their sport making a stand, especially people of color.
I don’t think people fully realize, it’s still just a 22, 23, 24-year-old human being showing up to work and they just happen to be an athletic freak that’s great at what they do. And they have the same thoughts, feelings and emotions as every fan, that weighs on your psyche a lot. For example, giving up two sacks on “Monday Night Football” and when you’re 24 years old, that weighs heavily on your mental health.
Why do you believe you may have C.T.E.?
I don’t know that I have C.T.E., but I have my suspicions. I do know that I have traumatic brain injury.
I think more guys than people realize will admit in private to dealing some of the symptoms of C.T.E., but few will acknowledge it publicly, partly from the stigma and partly just because they don’t want to deal with the attention. But most guys when you’re playing, you’re kind of aware this is not very good for you. It’s probably not good for your brain.