Former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins looked invincible for much of his 16-year career, but in an interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn, Dawkins disclosed a battle with depression during his rookie year in Philly that he believes could have derailed his Hall-of-Fame career.
Dawkins discussed his difficulties when having his first child and the toll it took on him.
"I had troubles channeling that anger in the right direction," Dawkins said. "They would come out in outbursts, and because I'm a quiet individual, and as men, we don't talk … anyway, I talked even less, and so all that stuff was bounding up. When you don't have answers, it comes out in different ways."
The nine-time Pro Bowler also opened up about the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism for his depression.
"Overall, I didn't have any outlets, and so I began to drink a little more than I needed to, and that quickly spiraled down into depression," Dawkins said. "I went through a real dark, deep depression. Alcohol was a tremendous crutch. There were times I didn't even want to be around my family, didn't want to be around my son."
Dawkins began to see a psychiatrist and take medication with the help of his wife. He also credits his faith for helping him rebound from his depression.
After being selected for the Hall of Fame in February, Dawkins will be officially enshrined in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 4.