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May 3rd, 2012
11:58 AM ET

Fmr. NY Giants player Tiki Barber on Junior Seau's death: Many factors lead NFL players to fall into a deep depression with no way out

The death of NFL legend Junior Seau is raising new questions about long-term brain injury in the sport. The 43-year-old was found dead with a gunshot wound to the chest yesterday. Investigators believe it was suicide.

Seau's ex-wife told a local paper that he had texted her and each of their children separate messages of "I love you." When Seau's mother spoke, she was at a loss to explain just why her son would take his own life.

"Junior, why you never tell me you're going? Take me. Take me. Leave my son alone," Luisa Seau told reporters.

Former New York Giants superstar Tiki Barber talks with Soledad this morning about whether Seau's time playing in the NFL may have contributed to depression.

"There's a lot of factors that contribute to depression. One is stress, money stress, family stress. And we're still trying to understand this chronic traumatic injury that Dr. Sanjay Gupta has done a great job of exploring but problem is you don't know if you have that. You can't determine that unless you have passed away and do a biopsy of your brain. You're surprised but you're not surprised because there are so many factors that lead toward athletes falling into deep, deep depressions and not having a way to get out of it," Barber says.

He adds that "78% of former football players after three or four years are broke, filing for bankruptcy. They go through divorces. They don't have a steady job. They are so far behind that professional learning curve because their peers came out of college and walked up the corporate ladder. They played sports. And once they're done, they're not celebrities anymore. The relevancy period falls away."

See more from the interview below.

Filed under: Concussion • NFL
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