He Went From the NFL to Prison. The Question Is, Why?

The LAT looks at the downfall of Titus Young
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2018 5:44 AM CST
He Wants to 'Dominate' the NFL. He's Sitting in Prison
This image provided by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department shows the booking photo of former Detroit Lions wide receiver Titus Young after his arrest on May 10, 2013.   (AP Photo/Orange County Sheriff’s Department, File)

"I believe God has a plan for me and deep down I believe it's to dominate the NFL." So wrote Titus Young—from an LA prison. In a piece for the Los Angeles Times, Nathan Fenno tracks the former Detroit Lions wide receiver's unraveling, poking at—but not answering—the big question: Is it a football-related brain injury or mental illness that has brought the now-28-year-old to where he is today? Either case could be made: Fenno talked to Young's former high school coach, who recalls a 2006 hit Young took as frighteningly bad. "It's one hit where I thought maybe something happened." Young's family has in court documents blamed his behavior on a concussion he sustained and then played through during his rookie season in 2011, though the Lions have no record of such an injury.

But then there are the incidents: the Lions teammate he sucker-punched during a workout; the arrest for trying to get through barbed wire to retrieve an impounded car; the punch that knocked his lawyer unconscious; the assault on a neighbor that landed him in prison. Young has been diagnosed as bipolar, and Fenno recounts an incident where Young believed a smoke detector was a spying device. An Escondido, Calif., center that gave him in-patient treatment countered that CTE was the problem. His family seems to blame that, too. But the 141-page diary Young wrote in 2017 goes back to mental illness. "A lot of the stuff I have done was out of my control during the time. ... I was hearing voices. ... When I make this comeback to the league, Rodger Godell [sic] and the rest will understand that athletes are not exempt in mental illness." Read the full story here. (More Titus Young stories.)

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