NFL

Young is eligible for paid counseling

Titus Young
Titus Young has options, if he chooses to pursue them.
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Alex Marvez

Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com. He has covered the NFL for the past 18 seasons as a beat writer and is the former president of the Pro Football Writers of America. He also is a frequent host on Sirius XM NFL Radio.

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If troubled ex-NFL wide receiver Titus Young wants mental-health counseling, the league will help provide it.

An NFL spokesman told FOXSports.com on Thursday that Young is eligible for paid assistance through the league’s Total Wellness program.

The NFL began offering such aid to more than 11,000 current and former NFL players as well as team and league staff members in July 2012 as part of an increased outreach program. NFL Total Wellness focuses on physical and mental health, family safety and the often-difficult professional and lifestyle transition players must make following their football careers.

The program was announced two months after the suicide of star linebacker Junior Seau.

Young, who played the past two seasons with Detroit, was charged with eight different criminal counts earlier this week in California stemming from incidents that had occurred in May alone. The charges include drunken driving, burglary and assaulting a police officer. He pled not guilty but remains in jail pending bail.

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If convicted on all counts, Young, 23, faces up to seven years in prison.

Young’s father Richard told the Detroit Free-Press his son had already undergone previously counseling and was prescribed anti-psychotic medication that he wasn’t regularly taking. It’s unknown whether recent counseling efforts when Young was out of football were paid for by the NFL.

Richard Young also believes some of his son’s recent actions may stem from concussion-related brain damage suffered during his rookie season. The Lions never listed Young on any injury report as having suffered a concussion.

Brain trauma is considered a potential contributing factor in Seau’s suicide as well as those of at least five other current and former NFL players who have killed themselves since 2011. The NFL is being sued by more than 4,000 former players claiming brain damage from improperly diagnosed head injuries as part of a class-action lawsuit.

“I look at my son right now, I don’t see my son,” Richard Young told the Free-Press. “That’s not my son. I know my son.”

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While he wasn’t arrested during his two seasons with Detroit, Young still generated controversy with his actions. Young, who was suspended at Boise State for fighting with a teammate, reportedly sucker-punched Lions teammate Louis Delmas after an argument during an off-field workout in May 2012. Young was booted from Detroit’s offseason program but later reinstated only to cause more problems during the regular season. A frustrated Young protested the way he was being used in Detroit’s offense by intentionally lining up in the wrong spots during a 24-20 loss to Green Bay in November.

Young was suspended and didn’t play for the rest of the season. He was waived in February and claimed by St. Louis, which released him nine days later. Young hadn’t re-signed with an NFL team before his May arrests.

Young is one of multiple Lions players who have gotten into trouble off the field over the past two seasons. While his talent alone warranted a 2011 second-round selection, two NFL executives who scouted Young told FOXSports.com that he was off their draft boards because of character concerns from incidents at Boise State.

“I couldn’t find anyone there who would say anything good about him,” one executive said.

Young had 81 catches for 990 yards and 10 touchdowns with 17 starts during his two seasons in Detroit.

Tagged: Titus Young, Lions

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