Jonathan Martin, a now-retired offensive lineman who left the Dolphins in 2013 after accusing teammates of bullying, said Wednesday that he had attempted suicide "on multiple occasions" because of long-simmering identity struggles and the stresses of the NFL.
In a lengthy post on his Facebook page on Wednesday, he detailed the mental difficulties that he hoped his onfield accomplishments would help ease. They did not, and the locker room was one of many environments in which he said he felt like an outsider.
"Your job leads you to attempt to kill yourself on multiple occasions," he wrote. "Your self-perceived social inadequacy dominates your every waking moment and thought. You're petrified of going to work. You either sleep 12, 14, 16 hours a day when you can, or not at all. You drink too much, smoke weed constantly, have trouble focusing on your job, playing the sport that you grew up obsessed with."
Martin has made few public statements since the NFL was roiled by the bullying scandal in 2013. A report by Ted Wells found the clubhouse harassment "humiliated Martin and contributed to his mental health issues."
Unable to fit in, Martin said he eventually overcompensated by creating a false persona as a "typical football player."
"You're one of just a handful of minorities in elite private schools," he wrote of his childhood. "You learn to tone down your size and blackness by becoming shy, introverted, friendly, so you won't scare the little rich white kids or their parents. Neither black nor white people accept you because they don't understand you. It takes away your self-confidence, your self-worth, your sanity.''
VICK DEFENDS HIMSELF: New Steelers quarterback Michael Vick said he can't change what happened in the past when he spent 21 months in jail for dogfighting and asked that people who remain angry for his actions focus on the good he is trying to do now.
"You still have people who feel a certain type of way about what happened," Vick said after his first practice with the Steelers on Wednesday, when a handful of animal rights activists gathered outside the training facility to protest his signing. "But I think you have to look at the right things I'm trying to do. You can't fault people for some of those mistakes. If that was the case, you would have a lot of people who wouldn't get a second chance."
Vick said he tries not to pay attention to some of the public uproar that has surrounded his signing with the Steelers: "I don't want to be emotionally disturbed right now. I want to be in a great place."
Ex-Gator indicted: A Santa Clara County (Calif.) grand jury has indicted former 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald, who starred at Florida, on one count of rape of an intoxicated person. Niners linebacker Ahmad Brooks has also been charged by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office with misdemeanor sexual battery for an alleged assault involving the same victim.
UMENYIORA RETIRES: Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora signed a one-day contract and retired as a member of the Giants. He played 10 seasons with New York and two in Atlanta. "For the past three weeks, I've been in negotiations about the terms of this one-day contract," he said jokingly. "I wanted a two-day contract."
FALCONS SIGN GROSSMAN: Former Gator quarterback Rex Grossman, who hasn't thrown a pass in an NFL game since 2011, signed a one-year deal with Atlanta. He will compete for a backup role. "It's rejuvenating. I'm excited," said Grossman, 35. Coach Dan Quinn said the team liked Grossman's quick release.
TRADE: The Lions traded offensive tackle Michael Williams to the Patriots for an undisclosed 2016 draft pick. Williams, a seventh-round pick in 2013, has not played in an NFL game.
REDSKINS: Linebacker Junior Galette suffered a torn Achilles at the end of practice, according to reports, and faces 6-8 months of rehabilitation.
TEXANS: Pass-rush specialist Jadeveon Clowney is expected to play in the Sept. 13 opener. The top overall pick in 2014 had microfracture surgery on his right knee in December and returned to practice on Aug. 17.