Former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer recently gave his first interview since surviving a suicide attempt nine months ago, and he told the Detroit Free Press that he's doing well after years of battling depression.
"I don't want to tempt fate but, at this point, I feel very good," Kramer said. "And so my hope is to just keep living life and keep contributing and keep all that going."
Kramer -- who played for the Falcons, Lions, Bears and Chargers in an NFL career that ran from 1987-99 -- told the Free Press that last August he bought a gun, checked into a Calabasas, Calif., hotel and pulled the trigger.
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The bullet traveled through his chin, left a hole in his tongue, went up through his sinus cavities and out the top of his head.
He spent most of the past nine months in two California hospitals, where he underwent surgery to repair his tongue and replace a chunk of his skull, and two brain-rehabilitation clinics before returning home last month.
He's back living a normal life that includes golfing, driving and dating. And most important, he said that the suicidal thoughts that have come and gone since his playing days -- and intensified early last year -- have subsided completely.
Kramer told the Free Press that he first remembered having suicidal thoughts back in the early 1990s, at the height of his NFL career and said he did not think there was a link between his depression and any concussions or injuries he suffered playing football. Rather, he suffered a series of personal losses -- including his son's death from a heroin overdose -- in the years before his suicide attempt.
His career included 67 starts and reached its peak when he led the Bears to a 9-7 record in 1995 with 3,838 passing yards and 29 touchdown passes with just 10 interceptions.