A.J. Brown has become well-known for what he’s able to do on the football field, but on Thursday he used his widespread platform to shed light on a subject outside his profession: mental health.
Brown’s decision to open up on the matter comes less than a week after he posted a video on Instagram in which he revealed that he thought about taking his own life last year.
During a press conference on Thursday, Brown used his time to talk about battling depression and why he wanted to used his position as an NFL player to increase awareness about mental health.
“I posted it because I wanted to encourage others to seek help whenever they are down,” Brown said of the video he posted on Instagram last Friday, via ESPN’s Turron Davenport. “I didn’t know, didn’t really take into consideration what depression really was. I always just brushed it off. That’s how I grew up. I just brushed off my feelings and it got the best of me.
“I just wanted to put out a positive message that I’m still here, I’m still growing, I’m still learning. I’m blessed. I’ve got a lot of things to be grateful for. Someone was there for me, so reach out to your loved ones, ask them how they are doing. And listen to them, because it’s important.”
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) November 18, 2021
Brown himself revealed that New York Jets rookie Elijah Moore was one of his closest confidants during his darkest times last year. The Tennessee Titans wideout explained that his former Ole Miss teammate “is more than family” and shared how much he appreciates his support.
Brown has obviously grown into one of the most dynamic and productive wide receivers in the NFL, but his press conference on Thursday is perhaps his greatest contribution since coming into the league. The 24-year-old showed a tremendous amount of bravery in opening up about such a deeply personal experience and speaking so selflessly about such a delicate subject.
Hopefully, Brown’s message can resonate with everyone who hears it and help those that might be facing similar mental health struggles.