Cleveland Browns Chris Hubbard reveals mental health struggles

Browns offensive lineman Chris Hubbard discussed his mental health struggles with an audience of about 300 during the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Summit County at the Akron/Fairlawn Hilton on Tuesday. [Ron Schwane/Associated Press file]

Chris Hubbard took a ballroom of nearly 300 people through his mental health journey on Tuesday, and the Browns offensive tackle didn’t hold anything back.

The death of his grandpa and “sidekick,” Jimmy Myers, to prostate cancer threw Hubbard into a deep depression during his freshman year at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The murder of his 19-year-old cousin, Shannon Fields, shot in the back of the head at a hometown Columbus, Georgia, nightclub when Hubbard was 21, prompted him to leave college for two weeks. In a conversation earlier that day, Fields told him he was ready to get off the streets, escape his world of gangs and drugs, and asked if he could come live with Hubbard in Birmingham. Hubbard agreed.

“It was more than just cousins, we were like brothers,” Hubbard said. “It hits me hard. I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat, I lost a lot of weight. I felt like I couldn’t protect him. You always want to protect the people that you love.”

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