The Associated Press – New York (AP) It’s been a whirlwind year for players on the professional football field.
But when it comes to their psychological health, there’s nothing that’s been more jarring than seeing the likes of Aaron Rodgers, DeMarco Murray and others who are in the league’s upper echelons turn their backs on what they believe to be a lifestyle they’ve been trying to make the most of their whole lives.
“I feel like a normal human being,” said Rodgers, a seven-time Pro Bowl player and one of the NFL’s best players ever, on “CBS This Morning.”
“I don’t know what I’m doing is wrong.”
The players, most of whom have played professionally in the NFL for at least 20 years, said they were encouraged to pursue careers in the fields of psychology, business and business administration.
In recent years, professional sports leagues have come under scrutiny for not being able to adequately cover the costs of mental health services.
Many leagues, like the NFL, have struggled to provide enough mental health support to players in order to help them survive the harsh realities of their jobs.
But some players, including Rodgers, say that in many cases the league is doing a disservice to its players by not adequately addressing the issue.
In addition to the physical and mental trauma they endure, many NFL players say that playing in front of thousands of people in front the cameras can be overwhelming and sometimes debilitating.
They say they’ve struggled to find a mental health professional that is familiar with the challenges they face.
“You can be in the same room with a man who has bipolar disorder and the next day, he’s going to be the biggest, best player in the world,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers, who played college football at UCLA and now works for a company that develops digital and mobile video game solutions, said that many players felt isolated and alone when it came to getting mental health treatment, and it led to their decision to pursue other professions.
“They’re going to have to get themselves together, and if they don’t get themselves up to speed, there will be consequences,” Rodgers added.
“When you’re on the field, people are just waiting to be your friend.”
Rodgers said that he felt like he was “on the verge of getting a breakdown” during one of his stints on the NFL sideline, which he says he was aware of at the time.
“The only thing that got me through that was getting myself together,” Rodgers told CBS News.
I was in shock because of what was happening, because of the way things were going. “
My brain was going through a lot of different phases.
Rodgers’ experience with his mental health is not unique. “
And I felt like I was on the verge, and that’s when I knew that I needed help.”
Rodgers’ experience with his mental health is not unique.
“As soon as I got on the team, it was like I needed to be able to function,” Rodgers recalled.
“So I started working on it.”
Rodgers was hired to the Packers as a tight end in 2007 and quickly blossomed into a top-level tight end for the team.
His production skyrocketed with the team and he led the league in receiving yards and touchdowns in 2010.
But Rodgers’ mental health was deteriorating.
“He was very much an example of somebody who is extremely smart, who had a lot to offer and who was very passionate about helping other people,” said his agent, Jimmy Sexton.
And he was really passionate about the things he cared about, and we were there to help him.” “
In that same vein, his wife and I were very supportive of him as he struggled.
And he was really passionate about the things he cared about, and we were there to help him.”
Sexton says that after the season, he had to make some tough decisions.
“We had a very tough decision to make.
I told Aaron, ‘Look, I’m going to do what I think is best for you, but I’m not going to take a pay cut to make this work,’ ” Sexton said.
Rodgers’ decision not to seek help after a concussion and subsequent suicide attempt in 2010 led to his termination from the Packers and he is still waiting for his termination hearing.
The NFL Players Association says that the league has been working hard to address the mental health crisis facing its players, and Sexton estimates that in the past two years, the league spent $500 million on mental health initiatives.
“But we’re not done,” Sexton told CBS.
“What we’re working on right now is not just for the NFL.
It’s for the entire sport.”
Many of the players interviewed by CBS News, including the players from the Super Bowl LI matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, said the NFL has done a great job at addressing the problem.
“At this point, I think the NFL is in a good position, to the point where