Thomas and his family now want to use the anguish from Ella Thomas’ death on Jan. 23 for a good cause by raising awareness about the dangers of depression and trying to prevent other suicides.
It’s big to let people know it’s OK to be sad, it’s OK not to be perfect because you never are, Thomas said. There are so many things that happen in life, good, bad, stuff that you don’t know about, and it’s going to affect how you feel. That’s huge. It’s about changing the culture of how you’re supposed to feel or act.
Ella Thomas had been dealing with depression for years and her family had tried to get her help. While Ella was open with her struggles, Thomas knows many others keep those thoughts hidden, sometimes out of fear of a stigma some put on mental illness.
When they drafted Lamar, I didn’t look at it as a shot at me or a shot at Joe [Flacco], Griffin said. It was ‘OK, Lamar is coming in here, and it’s our job to help him learn the offense and help him compete.’ So, for me, my job is to show them that I’m an asset to the team and not a detriment. . . . One [reporter] asked me if I was trying to showcase for other teams. No, my focus is, ‘I’m a Baltimore Raven. I’m showcasing to them that this is where I’m supposed to be.’
He seems to be prepared for the adversity that may come.
I feel like the chips have been stacked against me numerous times throughout my life, not just my career, Griffin said. The biggest thing I learned last year was, whatever your first instinct is to do when you are faced with an obstacle, when you face a challenge in life, that’s who you are. I feel like I’m a fighter. My first instinct is to continue to keep swinging, continue to keep trying, perfect my craft as best I can.
A lot of people, their first instinct is to quit or to say, ‘It wasn’t me, it was that.’ You remember the stories of the guys in the bar who are telling stories of what great players they were in high school? And, ‘It wasn’t my fault. It was this and that.’ That’s never my reaction. My reaction has never been to do that. It’s been to go lift more weights. I go throw passes.
Whether he’ll be throwing passes during the regular season for the Ravens or anyone else remains to be seen. But Griffin needs to be ready for anything, because as the last six years have proven, anything can happen.