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Lions’ WR Coach: Post-Career Alienation Is ‘What Kills You’

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DETROIT, MI - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Shawn Jefferson of the Detroit Lions poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)

DETROIT, MI – CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Shawn Jefferson of the Detroit Lions poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)

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Lions wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson doesn’t think concussions are triggering the recent rash of suicides among former players. This particular manifestation of depression, he believes, is borne out of the alienation players feel when they leave the game.

“It’s not the depression that kills you,” said Jefferson, who was a teammate with the late Junior Seau in San Diego. “It’s trying to make that transition to real life without that support group you’ve had in place your whole career. The depression is a result of not being around your guys any more; that’s what kills you.

“The depression comes about because you don’t have that structure any more. You aren’t walking into that locker room and chatting with your locker mates. You’re not in that fire on Sunday with those guys. You are at the door knocking, but nobody will let you in. You don’t have that sense of purpose. For guys who retire, there is a dark side to that transition period.”

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