While authorities piece together why Phillip Adams killed five people before killing himself on Wednesday, the former cornerback’s father says he knows the reason — he blames football.
Adams played in 78 NFL games over five seasons for six teams, ESPN reports.
His NFL career was plagued with injury, starting in 2010 when he needed screws inserted into his ankle after he suffered a severe injury. A year later with the Raiders, he had two concussions over three games in, but ESPN reports he was not eligible for the league’s broad settlement with its players for head-injury testing because of retired.
“I can say he’s a good kid — he was a good kid, and I think the football messed him up,” Alonzo Adams told WCNC-TV. “He didn’t talk much and he didn’t bother nobody.”
Adams’ father told a Charlotte television station that he blamed football for problems that may have led his son to commit Wednesday’s violence, ESPN reports.
His sister, Lauren Adams, also said on Friday the former cornerback’s behavior shifted dramatically over the past couple of years. She said she thinks some of his mental health issues can be traced back to his NFL career, which began in 2010 after he finished playing in college at South Carolina State — his career ended in 2015
Lauren Adams told USA Today her brother didn’t previously show signs of violent behavior and wasn’t a monster but his mental health was degrading fast.
“His mental health degraded fast and terribly bad,’’ Lauren Adams told USA TODAY Sports. “There was usual behavior. I’m not going to get into all that [symptoms]. We definitely did notice signs of mental illness that was extremely concerning, that was not like we had ever seen. …”
His sister said as things got progressively worse, Adams neglected his hygiene and withdrew from people — about two weeks ago when family gathered for a funeral and Lauren Adams said her brother talked about having applied for disability benefits with the NFL.
Lauren Adams told USA Today the NFL was trying to “nickel and dime him” and the “whole world was against him.”
“I know he had been applying for disability and he said they were making it hard for him,’’ Lauren Adams said. “And towards the end he felt like they were trying to basically stiff him on money.”