Ex-NFL RB Larry Johnson believes he has CTE

(The Sports Xchange) - Former NFL running back Larry Johnson said in an interview he believes he suffers from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease known as CTE.

CTE, which doctors say can be caused by repeated blows to the head, only can be diagnosed after death.

The 38-year-old Johnson, who last played in the NFL in 2011, told the Washington Post he is convinced he is living with CTE as he battles self-destructive impulses in what he calls "the demons."

Johnson described multiple symptoms of anxiety, paranoia, intense headaches, the jitters, mood swings, violence and forgetfulness, which he calls "Blank spots."

"If I can't remember who I was, I've got YouTube; I've got music videos that I'm making for myself, so when I watch these things I can remember," Johnson told the Washington Post. "I'm trying to get these things in order so she knows who I am and what I came from."

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BALTIMORE - OCTOBER 4: Running back Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs is seen during the game against the Baltimore Ravens on October 4, 2004 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. The Chiefs won 27-24 during Monday Night Football. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD - AUGUST 13: Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates his touchdown against New York Giants on August 13, 2004 at Giants Stadium in the East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by M. David Leeds/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 28: Running back Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs losses the ball trying to make a catch against the San Diego Chargers during a game at Arrowhead Stadium on November 28, 2004 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chargers defeated the Chiefs 34-31. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - 2005: Larry Johnson of the Kansas City Chiefs poses for his 2005 NFL headshot at photo day in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Running back Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs breaks free for a touchdown against the New York Jets early in the first quarter on September 11, 2005 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
DENVER - SEPTEMBER 26: Running back Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs waits for the results of a challenge by the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter September 26, 2005 at Invesco Field at Mile High stadium in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos won the game 30-10. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 6: Running back Larry Johnson smiles as he arrives to the Larry Johnson Team Rock Party at the 40/40 club on October 6, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Terrence McGee #24 and Nate Clements #22 of the Buffalo Bills tackle Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs on November 13, 2005 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 17: Running back Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball in the second half of the game against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium on December 17, 2005 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants won 27-17 and Johnson rushed for 167 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Chiefs. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - AUGUST 12: Running back Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs watches during a preseason game against the Houston Texans on August 12, 2006 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson (left) looses his helmet after being hit by St. Louis Rams linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa in the first quarter of preseason action at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, Saturday, August 26, 2006. (Photo by David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images)
Running Back Larry Johnson of the Kansas City Chiefs gains yardage in the second quarter of the Chiefs 41-0 victory over the 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (Photo by Mark Coffey/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 22: Running back Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball against the San Diego Chargers during the game on October 22, 2006 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs won 30-27. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 06: Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on from the bench against the Indianapolis Colts during their AFC Wild Card Playoff Game January 6, 2007 at RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 23-8. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Kansas City's Larry Johnson during the Pro Bowl Press Conference at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Miami, Florida on January 31, 2007. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21: Larry Johnson poses for a portrait at The Shore Club on June 21, 2007 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images for PLAYERS INC)
SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Runningback Larry Johnson #27 of Kansas City Chiefs runs against the San Diego Chargers during their NFL game on September 30, 2007 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 16: Running back Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on from the sideline in a game against the Arizona Cardinals at Arrowhead Stadium on August 16, 2008 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Cardinals won 27-17. (Photo by Tim Umphrey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 21: Running back Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts on the sideline late in the game while taking on the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on September 21, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons defeated the Chiefs 38-14. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 16: Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs watches warmups prior to a game against the New Orleans Saints on November 16, 2008 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS - AUGUST 21: E.J. Henderson #56 of the Minnesota Vikings tackles Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL game at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on August 21, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 25: Running back Larry Johnson #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs watches the scoreboard during the game against the San Diego Chargers on October 25, 2009 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 29: Larry Johnson #27 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Browns 16-7. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 03: Larry Johnson #27 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball against Ryan Fowler #51 of the New York Jets at Giants Stadium on January 3, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NFL player Larry Johnson attends the Jazz in the Gardens Celebrity Golf Classic at Turnberry Isle on March 19, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)
LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 12: Larry Johnson #27 of the Washington Redskins rushes the ball against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField on September 12, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Larry Johnson of the Miami Dolphins poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
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Johnson described an incident when those demons pushed him toward the barrier of a rooftop deck of an apartment building, urging him to "jump."

"One is telling you to do it; one is telling you don't," Johnson, a two-time Pro Bowler in 2005 and 2006 with the Kansas City Chiefs, told the newspaper. "One is telling you it'd be fun."

Johnson said he wonders if he will end up like former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who committed suicide in jail in April while serving a life sentence for murder.

"A bittersweet thing: I'm going to be free of everything that's holding me down," Johnson said. "The same way Aaron thought: I'm going to be gone from this world, but I'm still going to be able to take care of my child, because that's all I care about."

Johnson has a history of violence off the field -- he has been arrested six times, five of which were for various assault charges against women.

Johnson, who played at Penn State and was a Heisman finalist in 2002, was drafted No. 27 overall in 2003 by the Chiefs and played nine seasons in the NFL. He also spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals, the Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins, finishing his career with 6,223 rushing yards and 55 touchdowns.

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