Titans Receiver A.J. Brown Encourages Others to Get Help For Depression

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NASHVILLE – A.J. Brown has a million-dollar smile.

He's also worth millions.

But the Titans receiver, one of the team's brightest young stars, isn't afraid to admit things haven't always been perfect in his world.

Last week, in a social media post, Brown pulled back the curtain on his life by sharing a powerful message about depression and suicide. He admitted he had thoughts of taking his own life last year.

On Thursday, Brown spoke to reporters to follow up on his message about a "dark time" in his life.

"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 really what depression really was. I always just brushed it off. I grew up just brushing 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 growing, I'm still learning, I'm blessed, and I have a lot to be grateful for, and someone was there for me.

"So, reach out to your loved ones and ask them how they are doing and listen to them, because it is important."

"I know for me, walking around with a smile, that's easy to put on – everybody can do it," Brown continued. "But when we go home, some of us have real-life problems. That's why I said: Just talk to someone, reach out."

Brown, 24, said New York Jets receiver Elijah Moore, his former teammate at the University of Mississippi, was a key person who was there for him to help him get through the toughest, darkest times.

"He is more than family," Brown said of Moore. "I love him like he is my brother. He is my brother. He is a special person, and I appreciate him every day."

Brown also thanked Titans coach Mike Vrabel for his support.

Brown said a lot of people have reached out to him since he posted his message, with the team and outside the team, in the last week.

"A lot of guys reached out to me, and told me what I did was powerful," Brown said. "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."

Brown didn't reveal what caused him to go into a dark place.

The third-year NFL receiver said it was year ago when he considered taking his own life. He said his 1 ½-year-old daughter has been a source of inspiration through it all.

"(She's) the reason I am still going today," he said. "I don't even have the words for it. She gives me strength, and she is who I play for. Without my little girl, I don't know where I'd be."

Brown said he feels like he's in a better place today, but he admitted he still speaks to a therapist.

On Thursday, Brown recalled the exact day – "November 12th" – he contemplated taking his life.

"I am here, I have so much to be grateful for, I'm blessed," Brown said. "I know I wake up every day and get to play the game that I love. I have loved ones around me that love me dearly. I just wanted to help someone. Hopefully I can save a life, or anything. I just want to encourage everyone to seek help if you are down and you are depressed, and just try to get help.

"Us as men, our feelings aren't too much cared about. So, get things off your chest. It's OK to talk to someone. Seek help. You are not too tough to talk to someone. … Mental health is real, just like physical health. You have to take care of your brain just like you take care of your body."

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