New York Jets: WR Quincy Enunwa addresses mental health in Instagram post

Geoff Magliocchetti
New York Jets, Quincy Enunwa
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – AUGUST 24: New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) during the Preseason National Football League game between the New Orleans Saints and the New York Jets on August 24, 2019 at MaeLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The New York Jets receiver took to Instagram after a long hiatus to address mental health and look back on his time in New York.

New York Jets receiver Quincy Enunwa returned to Instagram after a 13-month hiatus this week to address his mental health and look back on his time in the metropolitan area.

In a multi-photo post, the 28-year-old Enunwa admitted to having suffered from mental illness in the past but was proud to disclose that he worked through it with the assistance of therapy and through the words of his fellow athletes. The accompanying photos feature Enunwa engaged in various activities in the New York area, including a lead photo of his time with the Jets.

“I was once somebody who didn’t think I could be affected by mental illness. I always believed that my will would pull me through any issue,” Enunwa’s caption says. “If I was really a “Man,” [sic] I could deal with my own problems. I managed to live that way for a while, and then I injured my neck again. Suddenly just being a man wasn’t enough. I needed something more to help me figure out what I was going through.”

His post coincides with Minority Mental Health Month, which was established in 2008 by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Enunwa’s words include a quote from NBA All-Star Kevin Love, reading “Success is not immune to depression or mental illness”. The Cleveland Cavaliers forward was one of the first and most renowned professional athletes to address his mental health publicly.

“Long story short, I found therapy and in it a space to process not only what I was going through, but also my relationships, friendships, and being black in America,” he continued. “Some people may think, “But Q, you just signed a 4-year extension, I would have just wiped my tears with those dollar bills,” and to that, I say you right, but mental illness doesn’t discriminate.”

The receiver was referring to a four-year, $36 million extension he inked with the Jets in December 2018 and the resulting neck injury in the Week 1 contest against Buffalo in the ensuing season. Placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list in May, Enunwa will also miss all of the 2020 campaign.

Enunwa then went on to reveal a new charitable endeavor, selling protective face coverings that read “Black Feelings Matter”. The masks are made by Enunwa’s wife and U.S. Army veteran Deanna. All of the proceeds will be donated to Therapy for Black Girls and the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network. These organizations, according to Enunwa, “aim to provide culturally affirming therapy to people of color”.

“As I continue to evolve and use my platform for change, I refuse to allow my community to continue to struggle in the dark. Asking for help isn’t weak and you’re not alone in your struggle,” Enunwa concludes. “Like (All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch) said, “Take care of your mental”.

Numerous teammates left messages of support under Enunwa’s post, including Jamal Adams and Chris Herndon.

Enunwa was drafted by the Jets in the sixth round (209th overall) of 2014’s draft out of Nebraska. He has earned 1,617 yards on 119 receptions in his career to go with five touchdowns.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags