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NFL's Steve Smith Reveals Depression Battle 'Felt Trapped, Inferior'

8/7/2018 8:34 AM PDT

NFL's Steve Smith Reveals Depression Battle, 'Felt Trapped, Inferior'

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On the field, Steve Smith Sr. appeared to be the most confident NFL player on the planet -- but privately, the WR was struggling with depression and admits he felt "trapped, inferior and alone."

The ex-Ravens and Panthers star went public with his mental health issues on NFL.com -- revealing he REALLY began to "take ownership" of the situation when he retired following the 2016 season. 

Smith says, despite his carefree demeanor, he never really enjoyed any of his football accomplishments and often felt "mentally, physically and emotionally broken."

Smith says he first tried counseling in 2013 -- but didn't really take it seriously. 

But, since he hung up his cleats, Smith says he's been able to focus on his mental health and has learned a lot about himself. 

"I find myself, as an extreme introvert defined by my counselor, looking for excuses on how to avoid large crowds and retreating during public appearances, big events and even family gatherings," Smith says. 

"Being in public is a constant struggle, not because I don't want to attract attention or think I'm 'important,' but because of my inner battle."

"This is all proof that I still face my demons often, but I'm gradually learning how to cope with them."

Smith says he has a message to other people suffering from mental health issues -- ask for help.

"You're not alone. Believe me."

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