In the wake of the Jovan Belcher murder suicide, the NFL community and those involved have taken a proactive approach to dealing with and helping current and former NFL players resolve in issues they may have going on in their lives.
Mike Freeman of CBS Sports is reporting that a recently retired NFL linebacker was struggling to transition to life as a regular person, and started to have negative thoughts that focused on harming himself.
The former player reportedly thought about killing himself, and it wasn’t the first time he had thoughts of suicide. This time though those thoughts were more serious.
The player’s wife became concerned about his safety and hers, and smartly decided to contact the NFL. Freeman reports that two ex NFL players from the leagues new league initiative that uses former players to coach recently retired ones took action.
The three former players spent three days together. The players themselves bonded over having been in the NFL and talked seriously about how difficult it is to leave the game, the money, and accolades to become a regular person again.
At the end of the that three-day retreat, the former linebacker was no longer talking about taking his own life but instead was talking about his future.
That player’s wife so so indebted to the NFL and the two men who helped her husband, she wrote all parties involved a letter.
“I just wanted to send out a HUGE THANK YOU to the two of you for what you did for my husband over the weekend! He is so enthusiastic about seeing the light at the end of a tunnel, and it absolutely would NOT have been possible without your support and this fabulous program. I honestly think it is the most worthwhile thing I’ve seen the NFL do in all of the years he was involved. He summed it up by saying, ‘I think those few days saved a couple of lives in that room.’ I don’t profess to know or understand the small brotherhood of NFL alumni, but you guys did a phenomenal job in reaching out and changing lives. [Former player’s name redacted] I know you spent years as an NFL great, but perhaps this is your best work, the thing for which you should be most proud. [Former player’s name redacted] thank you for that initial phone call and email — you made a difference in our lives. As a wife, I thank you for doing something I couldn’t. Please express to whomever the powers that be what great importance this program bears. It is an integral part of the transitioning process and if you ever have a board for families or wives involvement, count me in — this is the best thing the NFL has put money towards in years. THANK YOU and I hope to meet you two in person one day. Until then…”
The NFL did confirm the story, but refuse to name the players involved. Kudos to the NFL for being proactive.