Ex-NFL player’s ‘mental health degraded fast’

The sister of a former NFL players suspected of gunning down five people on Wednesday Before she killed herself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, her brother’s behavior changed dramatically in recent years.

“His mental health was deteriorating quickly and terribly,” Lauren Adams told USA TODAY Sports of Phillip Adams, a cornerback who played in the NFL between 2010 and 2015. “There was unusual behavior. I’m not going to go into all of that (symptoms). We definitely noticed signs of mental illness that were extremely worrying and that were not what we had ever seen. …

“He wasn’t a monster. He was struggling with his sanity.”

Although Lauren Adams said her brother had shown no signs of violent behavior, she said he had become more aggressive.

“In discussions there would be arguments,” she said. “Usually it would just be a normal conversation. His temper had changed where he was super relaxed forever and suddenly he had that temper. One could only say that something was wrong. “

She said that she believes some mental health problems can be traced back to his NFL career, which began in 2010 after he graduated from college in the state of South Carolina. Adams was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL Draft and played for six teams in six seasons.

WHAT WE KNOW:Dr. Robert Lesslie and his family among those killed in gunfire in South Carolina

When his career ended after the 2015 season, he returned to South Carolina, according to his sister.

“He really didn’t want anything to do with football,” she said. “ He didn’t see it. If we saw it, he would leave the room or ask us to turn it off. “

On Thursday, the rampage took place in a quiet area of ​​a community where Lauren Adams said her brother was once known as the Pillar. She said he would give away his expensive clothes and shoes to children who were less well off.

“He loved looking after children,” she said.

About 18 months ago, when things worsened, Phillip Adams did not tell his family where he lived before recently returning to Rock Hill with his parents, according to his sister.

“We wouldn’t hear from him for months,” she said. “It was completely unlike him. He’s always been a family man. ”

Linda Adams said she believed her brother sought out a therapist before retiring from football and then went to see other doctors about his mental health problems.

As it got worse, her brother neglected his hygiene and withdrew from people.

“He always looked good,” she said. “As if he had always been like a woman’s man. He stopped dating. It was just a lot of things that were part of his character that just disappeared.

“So many people come up to me or call me or text me and ask, ‘What’s wrong with your brother? ‘And I say, “I don’t know.” “”

The family gathered for a funeral two weeks ago, and Lauren Adams said her brother spoke about applying for disability benefits with the NFL.

“I know he applied for a disability and he said they made it difficult for him,” said Lauren Adams. “And towards the end he got the feeling that they were basically trying to stiffen him with money.

“He had the feeling that they were just trying to nickel and darken it. I think he was upset about it and that’s how it started, feeling like the whole world was against him. ”


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