Shawn Andrews is Battling Depression

(Getty Images)

Eagles Pro Bowl Guard Shawn Andrews confirmed on Tuesday that he is battling depression

 

(Philadelphia, Pa) — After weeks of speculation including some outlandish rumors, Philadelphia Eagles guard Shawn Andrews confirmed suspicions that indeed he is battling depression.  The two-time Pro Bowl selection and arguably one of the Eagles best players went on the media whippet on Tuesday interviewing with several Philadelphia media outlets about his challenging situation – listen to Andrews interview with 950 ESPN’s Mike Missanelli.

Andrews confirmed from his Arkansas home that he has been meeting with a mental health professional in that region, in hopes that he can re-join the Philadelphia Eagles in training camp later this week.  “The Big Kid” as he is known said that his depression started a year ago and has worsened since.  Andrews said to the media, “I’m willing to admit that I’ve been going through a very bad time with depression, I’ve finally decided to get professional help. It’s not something that blossomed up overnight. I’m on medication, trying to get better.”  The former first-round pick from the University of Arkansas added, “Football is important, it’s a means to an end, but my mental health, I feel like, is a lot more important,”

The fifth-year veteran, who is being fined $15,000 per day by the team for his “unexcused” absence (amount owed is over $200,000) now needs to work with the Eagles to rectify this situation.  Apparently Andrews fearing embarrassment in the Philadelphia area due to his “celebrity” had not sought treatment or really voiced his situation to the team causing an air of speculation that fueled some nasty internet rumors.  The good thing is now everything is out in the open and proactive steps can be taken by Eagles management, coaches, and teammates to get their offensive line anchor better. 

The Eagles have invested a lot time and money into Andrews, so they are well within their rights to assess the situation and work with the big guard to fix the problem.  Knowing the Eagles pretty well, I am sure the first thing they want Andrews to do is come back to his football family, so they can help – The fines maybe another issue, but the team would take a PR hit and the NFLPA might want to intercede if they collect on the fines from a player in his state.  Working with his “employer” is the key so that this situation does not further distract the team.  I am already hearing rumblings that certain players are skeptical of the situation and may not be as supportive as necessary due to the unknown nature of Andrews’ problem. 

Andrews needs to understand that he is not alone among NFL players battling depression on a daily basis and the league/franchises have support systems in place to help him.  We all know about the tragic story of former Oakland Raiders lineman Barret Robbins, but there are many other mental health success stories around the NFL that most fans don’t hear about.  The Eagles could possibly even talk with the hated Dallas Cowboys about “how” to work with players with mental health issues – I know everyone takes shots at the Cowboys for helping wayward players or players with issues, but led by Calvin Hill they do a great job in creating a good environment for players with issues.

Only time will tell if Andrews can return to the team and play up to his Pro Bowl level, but a least the air has been clear and hopefully Andrews can be back on the field as his old road-grading self.

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer/Analyst for Taking It to the House and an award winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

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