Analysis: Calvin Ridley and Lane Johnson show real courage

Calvin Ridley and Lane Johnson speak out in their fight against an opponent tougher than anyone or anything they’ve ever faced on a soccer field.

One day when Ridley said he was stepping away from the Atlanta Falcons to deal with mental health issues, Johnson opened up about his anxiety issues that caused him to miss three games for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Their courage will encourage others to seek help with similar problems.

Ridley, the team’s number one receiver, was eliminated at the last minute on Sunday against Carolina. It was the second game Ridley missed this season for what the team described as a personal matter.

Ridley explained it on social media during the Atlanta 19-13 loss.

“The last few weeks have been very difficult and while I would love to be on the pitch competing with my teammates, I need to step away from football right now and focus on my mental well-being,” Ridley wrote on his Twitter. page.

Johnson, a three-time Pro Bowl right tackle, left the Eagles for “personal reasons” shortly before a home game against Kansas City on Oct. 3. He returned last week and spoke to reporters for the first time after a 44-6 win. in Detroit.

“Football wasn’t even an issue back then,” Johnson said, revealing he was suffering from withdrawal symptoms after stopping an antidepressant. “I told a few close friends about it, but I really stayed the course because I was ashamed of it. I felt like it was a crutch. But coming back, the support I have had from the team, my friends, my family, I couldn’t ask for better. And coming out here and playing soccer again, it reminds you of how lucky you are to be in the position you find yourself in. So take it day by day.

Ridley and Johnson are the latest top athletes to disclose mental health issues. Earlier this year, tennis star Naomi Osaka and gold medalist gymnast Simone Biles spoke openly about their issues.

Other NFL stars have stepped up in recent years to break down the stigma associated with mental well-being, making the subject no longer taboo in a violent sport filled with fake bravado and macho attitudes.

The league launched an initiative earlier this year featuring current players promoting mental health in a series of videos and public service announcements.

Malcolm Jenkins, triple safety for the New Orleans Saints at the Pro Bowl, told The Associated Press last year he was in weekly therapy to help him cope with stress.

Early in his career, Brian Dawkins, a Hall of Fame keeper, overcame a drinking problem that degenerated into depression and made him feel like ending his life was the only way out. Since retiring, her mission has been to use her platform to educate people about “brain wellness” and inspire those who face challenges.

“There is still so much negative connotation attached to mental health,” Dawkins recently told the AP Pro Football podcast. “You’ve been taught to suck, to stay tough, but you hurt yourself in the long run. … We try to mask the pain by drinking too much or taking drugs and that’s all because we try to suck it in and deal with it ourselves. We all need someone to talk to and that’s what I’ve come to understand by now.

Brandon Marshall, who caught 970 passes for 12,351 yards and 83 touchdowns, holds an NFL record with 21 receptions in a game and has played in six Pro Bowls, told the AP his proudest achievement came when he sought help for a mental illness.

“It has helped me become better in so many other areas of my life and inspired me to build things that could help people be better,” Marshall said.


AP Sports Writers Paul Newberry and Larry Lage contributed.


Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter at and his work can be found at

About Karren Campbell

Check Also

Legendary hitmaker Linda Perry: “Singers have to earn my songs. I don’t just distribute them’ | Music

‘I have over 100 hats,” says Linda Perry, who wears an eye-catching western number today …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.