Titus Young: A Broken Man

Nov 18, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz and wide receiver Titus Young (16) chat before the game between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes down to it there are some people that can be saved from their plights.  While the old adage “everyone deserves a second chance” has been used time and time again to relieve the guilty of any remorse from their past transgressions, it can also be a sentiment that can effectively save a life.  While it’s impossible to save and relieve every individual of their internal malice, this shouldn’t insinuate that people who are lost and afraid to face themselves should be neglected as just another lost cause.

Enter Titus Young; A once highly touted second round draft pick who had the potential to be a dominant offensive player for a team that desperately needed a spark to revamp a debilitated franchise.  From the time of his inauguration into the NFL, Young appeared to be the dynamic edge the Detroit Lions needed at the wide receiver position.  Coupled with the innately gifted Calvin Johnson, Young was an essential component to the Lions rejuvenated offense as he caught six touchdowns for 607 yards.  As a result, the dominant offense of the Lions was valiantly able to lead their organization to an impressive 10-6 record and a highly coveted playoff berth for the first time since 1999.  Despite losing in the first round to the New Orleans Saints, the Detroit Lions and Titus Young appeared to be a match made in heaven.

Unfortunately, the prospect that could have been mentally imploded and regressed into a sad and self destructive man who seemed to thrive off of instigating conflicts, particularly within his own team.  During the offseason, Young allegedly punched safety Louis Delmas during one of the team’s offseason workouts.  While the altercation resulted in Young being banned from the team’s voluntary workouts, he eventually exhibited remorse for his violent outburst.  “I felt personally it was important for me to get it off my chest and get the burden off my heart,” he said.  “Just seeing the guys just coming back and kind of feeling uneasy.  Just kind of feeling that it’s not quite right, praying and feeling in my spirit.”

While Young acknowledged his mistake publically, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz essentially declined to comment on the matter altogether. “This is the voluntary part of our offseason program,” he said.  There is no need to comment. It sort of entails that it is not voluntary.”

Looking back on this moment, nearly one year later, it’s easy to pose a number of inquiries about how the situation was empathically brushed under the rug.  If the Lions organization had acknowledged Young’s initial out lash, would it have prevented the young athlete from committing the various legally troubling disputes that were to eventually follow?  If teammates or close family members had spoken out sooner, specifically about how uncomfortable they were with the incident and his presence thereafter, could Young have avoided a life that was driven by confrontation with the law time and time again?  Whether the answers to these questions would have been helpful to Young’s overall well-being is now sadly irrelevant.  What it comes down to now is that Young has already taken a tumultuous tumble down the rabbit hole. At this point, only one question becomes important to answer sooner rather than later; Is Titus Young worth saving from himself?

Brandon Marshall, a receiver for the Chicago Bears once dealt with similar issues that came as the result of him being undiagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder).  Before being diagnosed and treated properly, Marshall has involved in several legal disputes mainly involving a variety of domestic disturbances.  However, once Marshall was properly diagnosed and received treatment for the disorder, he not only stayed out of trouble he also became an advocate for treatment as well.

After hearing about Young’s transgressions, Marshall confessed that he wished he could have talked with the troubled athlete sooner.  “…I wanted to get my hands on Titus, just sit down with him and possibly walk him into the doors of the same program I was in,” he said.  But I think there were some things in the way that kept us both from moving forward.  And I’m disappointed in that because, since then, it’s just gotten worse and one of the things I stress was without the proper treatment, it’s just going to make things worse.”

With this notion in mind, it becomes abundantly clear that Young is in desperate need of help and without the right people and proper treatment program to save him he could not only cause irreparable damage to his career as a professional football player, he could also destroy the relationships he has left with the people who still love him.

Young’s father, Richard Young, is desperately concerned for his sons mental well being and has personal accounts that warrant an intervention for this distraught athlete who is on the brink of losing what control he has left of his life.

“When he’s around us, his mind comes and goes,” he said.  “He can’t really defend himself, and I don’t want y’all thinking he’s a bad person.”

Topics: NFL, Titus Young

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