Jailed NFL player wants to make a comeback despite concussion concerns

Former Detroit Lions second-round pick Titus Young blames concussions he sustained in his football career for the mental state that led to his current four-year prison sentence in Southern California, according to excerpts from a diary he kept last year that a relative shared with the Los Angeles Times.

Young, 28, also believes “God has a plan for me and deep down I believe it’s to dominate the NFL.”

The Los Angeles native and Boise State product hauled in 81 receptions for 990 yards and 10 touchdowns in two seasons for the Lions before his release in February 2013 following multiple confrontations with teammates and coaches. He was also released 10 days after being claimed off waivers by the St. Louis Rams due to similar behavioral concerns, and he has not played since.

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Boise State receiver Titus Young (4) makes a reception in the first half against Nevada's Paul Pratt, Sunday, October 14, 2007, in Boise, Idaho. (Photo by Joe Jaszewski/Idaho Statesman/MCT via Getty Images)
Boise State wide receiver Titus Young (4) celebrates with Boise State tight end Chris O'Neill (88), after O'Neill's touchdown in the first half against Louisiana Tech at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho, Wednesday, October 1, 2008. (Photo by Joe Jaszewski/Idaho Statesman/MCT via Getty Images)
BOWLING GREEN, OH - SEPTEMBER 26: Titus Young #4 of the Boise State Broncos looks on against the Bowling Green Falcons at Doyt Perry Stadium on September 26, 2009 in Bowling Green, Ohio. Boise State won 49-14. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Boise State's Titus Young scores against Oregon State during the second quarter at Bronco Stadium on Saturday, September 25, 2010, in Boise, Idaho. (Chris Butler/Idaho Statesman/MCT via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Titus Young of the Detroit Lions poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
ALLEN PARK, MI - AUGUST 01: Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions watches the morning drills unable to practice due to muscle tightness at the Lions training facility on August 1, 2011 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 18: Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after cathing a 43 yard pass in the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Ford Field on September 18, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 13: Tim Jennings (26) of the Chicago Bears tackles Titus Young (16) of the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on November 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 37-13. (Photo by Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 30: Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions makes a reception for a first down over Andre' Goodman #21 of the Denver Broncos during the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 30, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 30: Wide receiver Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions celebrates in the stands after a 41-yard reception for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 30, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 20: Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions celebrate a second quarter touchdown while playing the Carolina Panthers at Ford Field on November 20, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 18: Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions looks to the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on December 18, 2011 in Oakland, California. The Lions defeated the Raiders 28-27. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 24: Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions shakes hands with fans after the victory against the San Diego Chargers at Ford Field on December 24, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Chargers 38-10. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Detroit Lions/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 24: Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions runs onto the field during player introductions before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on November 24, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Packers defeated the Lions 27-15. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Detroit Lions/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 03: Titus Young of the Detroit Lions attends Pepsi Pre-Super Bowl Party at Indiana State Museum on February 3, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Pepsi)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 14: Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles during the game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 14, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Lions won 26-23 in overtime. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22: Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions reacts after droping a pass during the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 22, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 13-7. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 28: Titus Young #16 of the Detroit Lions celebrates with fans after catching a 46-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during the game at Ford Field on October 28, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions won 28-24. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Since 2013, Young “accumulated at least 25 criminal charges — including 10 for assault or battery — in Southern California,” according to the Los Angeles Times. His most recent charge — assault with a deadly weapon and felony battery that resulted in an acquaintance requiring eight stitches in January 2016 — earned him a four-year sentence at California Rehabilitation Center in April of last year. He is also concurrently serving a two-year sentence for a separate battery charge around the same time.

Following both incidents, Young cited concussions for his mental state. His family has also blamed his behavior on concussions, including one that allegedly went undiagnosed during his rookie season.
Between the end of his NFL career and last year’s prison sentencing, Young received treatment at multiple psychiatric hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, per the L.A. Times. Doctors at UCLA’s Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital diagnosed Young with bipolar, while Crosby Centers psychologist Robert Knol later testified that Young suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

“My fight or flight in my brain was off and that could be due to head trauma suffered while playing football,” Young wrote in the diary obtained by the L.A. Times. “All I know now is I’m back to normal and I take good medication and I’m not ashamed of it either.

“It’s kind of hard for me to think wisely in sticky situations where I feel threatened. Taking the medicine allows my mood to be stabilized and helps with hearing voices. Yeah, I have heard voices, as well. The voices came and came from the bipolar. It’s usually when I let my brain relax and focus on others. I can kind of hear them.”

The NFL Players’ Association sent a newsletter in March 2015 warning its members to use “extreme caution” with respect to Crosby Centers president Larry Burns. The newsletter said Burns is “actively engaged in the solicitation of current and former NFL players to undergo treatment for concussion-related injuries” and “has accumulated numerous convictions for felony fraud-related violations.”

Burns, who has testified on Young’s behalf, reportedly called the NFLPA’s warning “a slander.”

Young is eligible for parole in March.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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