April 21, 2016 – 8:35 pm
by Will DeWitt
Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long met with former teammate Brandon Marshall to discuss mental health in an event called “Real Chats – Off The Gridiron” hosted by Marshall’s foundation Project375. The nonprofit organization’s goal is to eradicate the stigma surrounding mental illness and disorders.
From his Facebook, Marshall released a nearly 10-minute video of the conversation shared between Long and Marshall in which Long discussed his history with mental illness, his treatment and how he’s matured over the course of his time in the NFL.
It was the first time Long publically revealed his story that dates back to when he was diagnosed with ADHD in elementary school. Long said that he felt different than the rest of his class and that it was “the scarlet letter I had to wear.”
Long admitted that he turned down 60 Division-1 football scholarships. He decided to play baseball instead in hopes of differentiating himself from his father Howie and older brother Joel who were football players.
He went on to discuss how Chris took Long to go get help. The night before, while sitting in a spare room at his brother’s place in St. Louis, Long admitted he was sweating and bawling in what he calls “the worst night of my life… because I had to go face whatever it was I had been fighting.”
He went on to say, “It was so overwhelming the fact that somebody loved me so much that they were willing to walk me into the fire.”
The two former teammates discussed Long’s treatment, but before the conversation concluded Marshall told Long that he was proud of the maturation he has seen out of him and that he’s his friend.