Lane Johnson
Lane Johnson opens up about mental health: 'I was living in hell for a long time'
Lane Johnson

Lane Johnson opens up about mental health: 'I was living in hell for a long time'

Updated Oct. 31, 2021 5:51 p.m. ET

When it comes to injuries in the NFL, information is abundant.

But what about those ailments that aren't so easy to designate beyond "personal matter" on the official injury report? Specifically, what about mental health?

On Sunday, Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson sat down with Jay Glazer on "FOX NFL Sunday" to discuss the mental-health challenges he has faced both on and off the field.

Lane Johnson opens up about mental health

Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson recently stepped away from football to focus on his mental health. Johnson sat down with Jay Glazer to discuss that decision and the importance of mental health.

"The monster kept building and building and building," Johnson said. "It finally came to a point where I said, 'I'm not gonna take it no more.'"

In early October, Johnson left the Eagles and missed three games as he addressed his mental health.

"The first game against Atlanta, I told my mom ... 'Something's really, really wrong with me. I don't know exactly what it is.' I said, 'I'm miserable. I know my mind isn't right. I know my body isn't right.' So I left [the Eagles]. I went back home. I didn't have any communication with the Eagles."

Johnson detailed the challenges he faces in his battle with depression and anxiety.

"Trying to describe that to people that have no clue or what it's like, it's very difficult," he said. "You lose touch of your sense of self. You lose touch of what's really going on around you. And what we really tend to do is lock up, not want to say anything."

When Glazer, who spoke of his own struggles with depression and anxiety, mentioned how those things manifest physically, Johnson said he could relate. 

"Feels like doom. I just want to run away and not come back, kind of thing," Johnson said. "A lot of nausea. A lot of throwing up every day. It got so bad ... I started to throw up blood. Nerves. Really, I have tremors in my hands. This is something I've dealt with for a long time. Obviously, there's medications that help with this, but a lot of it — you can't mask everything."

When Glazer asked why Johnson kept his struggles so quiet, the offensive lineman explained that the stigma surrounding such conversations weighed on him.

"I was ashamed, to be honest," Johnson said. "In this league, the NFL, where it's a gladiator-type sport, it's something that's not often talked about but is often felt throughout the league."

Said Glazer: "This has got to be talked about." And Johnson agreed.

"You need to talk about it," Johnson said. "But yeah, man, I was living in hell for a long time. …

"I'm glad I'm sitting here talking about it and finally being open about it."

Johnson left Philadelphia and returned home to Oklahoma prior to the Eagles' game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 3. He was absent for three games before rejoining the team Oct. 20.

"It took a lot of time to really focus on myself to get the help I needed and to get into a good mindset again," said Johnson, who was a Super Bowl champion with the Eagles in 2018.

As far as advice for others struggling with similar issues? Johnson offered the following:

"I'd say find your ... closest friend, family member. Tell a loved one. And if it's to a degree of seriousness, there's always help around the corner," he said. "That's the thing. It's not far. It's never out of reach. And whenever you do this, you realize that you have a lot more in common with everybody else around you than you think." 

Johnson, who revealed that he would search his name on Twitter after games, also said, "You've got to get out of there."

Support for Johnson poured in on social media after Sunday's interview. Here is some of the reaction:

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.


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