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Former Eagles quarterback McMahon says he considered suicide

Jim McMahon claims the hits he took while playing football led to dementia, depression and suicidal thoughts.

Jim McMahon spoke Tuesday of his ongoing battle with dementia that he believe is related to his years of hits he took while playing in the NFL. (Stacy Thacker/AP)
Jim McMahon spoke Tuesday of his ongoing battle with dementia that he believe is related to his years of hits he took while playing in the NFL. (Stacy Thacker/AP)Read more

JIM MCMAHON would leave home and forget how to get back.

Sometimes, he would stay in his room and lie on his back in the dark because the pain in his head was so excruciating. At his darkest moments a few years ago, when it was just about too much to handle, the former Chicago Bears quarterback thought about killing himself.

"I am glad I don't have any weapons in my house or else I am pretty sure I wouldn't be here," McMahon said. "It got to be that bad."

McMahon, who played for the Eagles from 1990-92, opened up about his struggles with early onset dementia and depression in a gathering with a small group of reporters yesterday. He claims his issues were brought on by the beating he absorbed playing football. He is scheduled to be honored today in Chicago by the Sports Legacy Institute, a Boston University-based group that has been studying the effects of brain trauma in athletes and others.

While his suicidal thoughts are a thing of the past thanks to treatment that drains spinal fluid from his brain, the fight with dementia continues. The "punky QB" who once helped the Bears shuffle their way to a championship is also digging in for another battle, one that could have major consequences for the NFL.

McMahon, is one of several players identified by name in a federal lawsuit filed in California last month accusing teams of illegally dispensing powerful narcotics and other drugs to keep players on the field without regard for their long-term health.

He also is part of a class-action lawsuit in which the NFL agreed to a $765 million settlement without acknowledging it hid the risks of concussions from former players. A federal judge has yet to approve the settlement, expressing concern the amount is too small.


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* Two-time Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis and right guard Alex Boone skipped the first day of San Francisco's minicamp. Both starters are seeking raises despite 2 years left on their contracts.

Coach Jim Harbaugh also says cornerback Eric Wright, 28, is not with the team because he's contemplating retirement.

* Dallas backup quarterback Kyle Orton was a no-show for the first mandatory offseason practice amid reports he is contemplating retirement.

The 31-year-old Orton has 1 year remaining on his contract. He can be fined about $70,000 for missing the minicamp.

* Miami sealed a deal to renovate its stadium and will begin work this summer on the $350 million project, which will help South Florida's chances of hosting future Super Bowls.

* Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II and Hall of Fame defensive tackle Joe Greene were among the pallbearers at former coach Chuck Noll's funeral Mass.

They joined NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and several hundred friends and family at Saint Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh. Noll died last week at age 82.

* Aaron Hernandez' attorneys want to issue a subpoena to the New England Patriots for medical, psychological and other records on their former player.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in the June 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, whose body was found near Hernandez' North Attleboro, Mass., home. Hernandez' attorneys said the records are potentially relevant to Hernandez' circumstances and state of mind and ask to receive it within 30 days. The Patriots did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hernandez has also pleaded not guilty in a separate case accusing him of killing two men in Boston in 2012.