This is merely an appreciation of seven men who know their limitations -- or, more precisely, don't know their limitations -- and have sought to protect themselves and others by removing deadly weapons from their midst. That's remarkable humility for the machismo NFL, a show of strength most people couldn't muster.
If anyone ever wants to talk about untreated depression email me. We can talk. My shirt story is this.
The JP is a gun culture. Folks had them on the fridge, by the bed, in the car, in the trunk of a car at school after going hunting before school and, my favorite, an old shotgun loaded with chips of rock salt that was fired off if the farmer/homeowner heard anything at night.
I honestly don't think the farmer tried to hit me, but I did get some in the back one night. Fortunately I was "protecting" the young lady I was with.
I hunted, shot, even got a game citation or two. But when I turned 14 or so I knew something was changing with me....I still don't know what caused it, I just know it happened and I became scared to have guns around me. I got rid of mine a couple of dads but he kept one. (Two people were killed with that gun, but that is a different story.) Anyway I got older I started fooling around with that gun and realized I could kill myself with it. I talked to dad about selling it and giving me the money for a car I wanted.... He did and it is a god thing.
With that I stopped shooting, hunting or having any interest in being around guns. Oh, I carried a nice knife and nasty billy club in the car, but no guns.. Sometime ago I described myself as having a million dollar arm and a 10 cent brain and if that 10 cent brain had had a firearm around, I probably would have committed suicide in high school or I might have shot a guy in college after he smarted off to me. I knocked him down the stars and kicked him down two flights.
The University learned of it of course and I was not allowed on campus until I went to a shrink. I did/ I hated him and his east coast accent, but went along with it until he said...you are depressed. For you to return to school and the team you have to take this anti depressant. I said ok. Took it a couple days and became so sick I stopped. Didn't tell anyone kept getting refills (they were free) and going in for checkups, said yes sir no sir and transferred at the end of year to UK.
Moved to Denver to try and start over and kind of succeeded, but after a couple years I did something that cost me a great great job. Thank God I did not have a firearm. All my buds would say you are from Kentucky let's go shooting and hunting. I would not do it. However, I did tag along duck hunting a few times and took some good photos. I can still identify some maybe most western ducks fro 50 or so yards.
Well I get my life together and marry, have a couple beautiful daughters and in late 1996 decide to kill myself. The depression was too great for the booze, sex, work, exercise and fighting to control. But my wife convinces me not to and I go see another shrink and said give me the medicine. He did. Changed my life. Sick for a week like you couldn't believe, but it was worth it.
Slowly got myself together and every morning and night I thank Jesus, bless his name, and the researcher who created the drug and my wife.
My depression does not have a known cause but it is controlled. My depression cost me millions of dollars, hundreds of friends and potential friends, a lot of my health, and badly damaged my career, and almost destroyed my marriage To this day I still trying to heal it.
I am now the person I used to be about 60% of the time almost 100% of the time and I have control. Frankly, I am the happiest, kindest, most polite, most grateful most generous, thoughtful person you know. I still have a brutal Scottish temper, but it goes away almost immediately. The medicine causes too much pain in my head. Yoga helps a ton too.
So, if you think you have a mental illness go the doc. If you know someone who might have a mental illness. Talk to them. Take them and if they work for you say we are going or I fire you. ( Dummy up the documentation if necessary.) I did this for an employee a few years back and it worked. Unethical, yes. Necessary, yes.
And like Glen points out, if you have a mental illness don't own firearms. BTW, I own a bunch now, have concealed carry, go shooting and KNOW I am absolutely the safest gun owner around. Working on my archery, love it and have the goal of going griz hunting with a bow.
Again email if you want to talk.
PS. This is version two. I posted a rough draft earlier by mistake.