Due to my move over the weekend, I'm a bit behind on this story, but Tennessee Titan and former Gamecock O.J. Murdock has committed suicide. One of Steve Spurrier first big-time commitments, Murdock was a highly rated receiver coming out of Tampa when he signed for Carolina. However, after playing only four games, he was dismissed from the team after a shoplifting incident. After a stint in community college, he did well enough at Fort Hays State in Kansas to earn a free agent deal with Tennessee in 2011. The Titans were apparently excited about what he could contribute to their team.
Both due to the fact that he seemed to have things on track and due to the nature of how he killed himself, his death is a pretty harrowing story. After texting loved ones and coaches, Murdock drove to his high-school stadium at Tampa's Middleton late at night and shot himself in his car. He was found the next morning, taken to the hospital, and soon died.
Details are still murky regarding why Murdock might have chosen to do this, and, in any event, details are always insufficient in this situation. It's impossible to understand why someone might choose to take his or her own life without having walked in that person's shoes. It will always be a mystery to the rest of us, even if we learn of plausible explanations for Murdock's motivations. That said, if there is a lesson here, I would agree with C&F that it's that football players need better mental health care. Many of these guys come from unstable family situations before being thrown into a glitzy, sometimes sleazy world where dreams are quickly made and broken. They suffer debilitating injuries and concussions on a regular basis. They simply need better support. There are too many stories like this happening lately.