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Bowen: Life Is Rough For Ex-NFL Veterans

Matt Bowen.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Matt Bowen. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

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(WSCR) In the wake of Junior Seau’s suicide, many are discussing what life is like for ex-NFL veterans.

As Matt Bowen explains, once a player retires from the NFL, the adjustment back to a normal lifestyle can be quite difficult.

“I’m telling you, when you’re that structured you almost become robotic as a player with your routine,” Bowen told The Mully and Hanley Show. “When it just stops all of the sudden, it’s hard. It’s very hard.

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“What do you do? You’re not ready to take interviews. You don’t know what you want to do as a professional yet. … You don’t know who to call. You’re not right out of college, you’re not going to job fairs. You’re just stuck in this transition period that’s very hard. I don’t expect people out there to feel sorry for football players, but there is a lot of truth to this that a lot of guys do go into depression once they get done because they’re just kind of stuck in that gray area where they don’t know where to go next.

“They baby you a little bit. They baby you sometimes a little too much. If you need to go to the doctor or the dentist in the NFL, you don’t wait in line, they take you in the back door. When you get out and you get your first medical bill – I didn’t pay a medical bill until I was 31 years old. I just didn’t. They do all that stuff for you. That’s the tough part of the transition, as well.”

Since new broke of Seau’s suicide some have wondered if he was experiencing symptoms of CTE, which is a direct result of repeated head trauma that can cause depression. Former Bear Dave Duerson killed himself a little more than a year ago. After studies were done on Duerson’s brain, it became evident that he, too, suffered from CTE.

“You hope it’s not like Dave Duerson,” Bowen said. “My mom called me last night and that’s the first thing she brought up. When my mom is on the phone and gets real quiet, I know she’s upset. She was worried sick. She knows I have had concussions in my career. My wife said the same thing: ‘Well, that’s not going to happen to you. You have your support staff.’ I don’t know that. I’m only 35. I don’t know.”