Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- If there is one thing that stands out about Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown, other than him being an incredible NFL talent, it’s his big smile.
But a smile can sometimes hide what a person might be struggling with when nobody is watching. That was the case for the Brown during the 2020 season, and last week he shared a TikTok video explaining that things got so dark, he contemplated taking his own life:
On Wednesday, before Titans practice, the 24-year-old took to the podium to further discuss his message.
“I posted the video because I wanted to encourage others to seek help whenever they are down,” Brown said. “I didn’t take into consideration what depression really was. I grew [up] just brushing off my feelings, and this got the best of me. I just wanted to put out a positive message that I’m still here, I’m growing, I’m blessed and have a lot to be thankful for.”
Brown, who was in the middle of an outstanding sophomore season (in 2020), said he turned to former Ole Miss teammate and current New York Jets wide receiver, Elijah Moore, for help. The two still remain close and continue to support one another.
“He is more than family. I love him like he is my brother. He is my brother. He is a special person and I appreciate him each and every day,” said Brown. “This is not just football talk, this is life talk. Just being around him so much, you start to – to a point where I feel like I kind of raised him. Going from college and I have seen him grow, I have seen him do all the things that he wants to do. Just being there for one another.”
While Moore may have been one of the few people that knew about the depression his best friend was dealing with, Brown said he’s now thankful for the support he’s receiving from Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, along with his current Titans teammates.
“A lot of guys reached out to me and told me what I did was powerful. A lot of guys on my team sat down and talked to me one-on-one about their struggles, which we need to do more often. We need to look out for one another. I know we play this beautiful game, but life is beautiful too,” added Brown.
Brown did not go into detail about what caused him to contemplate suicide, but he did say he’s in a much better place and still speaks to a therapist to maintain his mental health.
“I know for me, walking around with a smile is easy, everyone can do it, but when we go home, some of us have real life problems. It is just how you deal with those things. That is why I said just talk to someone, reach out,” said Brown. “Us as men, to be honest, our feelings aren’t too much cared about. Especially men, just get things off of your chest. It is OK to talk to someone or seek help. You are not too tough to talk to someone.”
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time or chat online.