Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst went out of his way on Sunday following Atlanta’s 40-39 loss to the Cowboys to thank fifth-year quarterback Dak Prescott for speaking out about his issues with depression.
Hurst, who has his own history with depression, tracked Prescott down after the game to express his respect. The Falcons released an 11-second clip of the brief meeting on Tuesday, as part of a larger mic’d up segment on Hurst:
Prescott on Sept. 9 detailed his issues with depression, which began during the COVID-19 pandemic and only grew worse with the April suicide of his older brother, Jace Prescott. The Cowboys quarterback was widely lauded for the move, especially in a climate that places greater emphasis on mental health.
Hurst himself has been outspoken about his own history with depression; the third-year tight end in February said he struggled with it while he was playing baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ minor league team. He began drinking heavily, and it didn’t get better even after he quit baseball and walked on to the Gamecocks’ football team in 2015. It eventually led to a suicide attempt he does not remember.
“I woke up in the hospital,” he told First Coast News in February. “I didn’t know what happened. I had to have a friend fill me in. Apparently, I had been drinking and went into my apartment and cut my wrist. My friend found me in a puddle of blood. He called 911.”
Hurst in May spoke to ESPN NFL analyst Mina Kimes, who asked him why he struggled to tell his family about his issues, despite being so close to them.
“For me, I guess, it was tough at first to kind of break down and tell them, ‘Hey, this is going on,'” Hurst told Kimes. “Just because, in their eyes, I was also so strong. … You’re just sitting there thinking to yourself, ‘I don’t want to open up and tell them what’s going on, because they’re going to be disappointed. They’re going to be embarrassed.’ And it’s actually the exact opposite.”
Good on Hurst and Prescott for speaking out about their mental health issues — and for supporting each other after the fact as well.