"I started to get really depressive" - Ex-Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles opens up on ‘dark,’ ‘suicidal’ thoughts post-retirement

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman
Syndication: Austin American-Statesman

Jamaal Charles dedicated more than 30 years of life to football, from his school days to college football and then to the pinnacle in the NFL. However, the running back recently revealed that after the end of this process of football, he faced some dark aspects of his life and personality.

The Kansas City Chiefs drafted Charles in the third round in 2008. three-time All-Pro RB played in Arrowhead Stadium until 2016. He then played a season each with the Denver Broncos and the Jacksonville Jaguars, retiring from Jacksonville in 2018.

On the NFL’s "Second Acts Podcast" on Wednesday, Charles, now 37, opened up about his struggles after hanging up his cleats (Timestamp: 23:00):

“My mind wasn’t there. I checked out. My body wasn’t the same. It’s like, man, what do I do next? I just went into basically a dark side. ... Nobody reaching out to guide me out to transition to life after football.”

Charles also talked about the nature of the dark thoughts that pushed him toward the edge:

“People don’t really know. I went to try to work with people and invest with people. It didn’t go well. I started to lose money and investment. So, I started to get really depressive like suicide … suicidal.”

Over his illustrious career, Jamaal Charles was selected for the Pro Bowl four times with the Chiefs. However, he did not stay long enough in Kansas City to witness their ascendency under Patrick Mahomes.

Therapy helped Jamaal Charles see the light

Jamaal Charles explored his deep thoughts on the podcast. However, he shared he did a similar thing during his therapy sessions, which helped him out tremendously:

“At that time I did get therapy, so it's nothing wrong. I did talk to a therapist to talk about suicide thoughts, talk about the hard times. At that time, I still was going through therapy and I still is today.”

Charles said he has also received much support from the Chiefs community. He announced Kansas City's second-round pick at the 2024 NFL draft in Detroit in April.

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