NFL Veteran, Speaker, Philanthropist.
A Letter From Marcus
Hi, I’m Marcus Smith II. I am a father, husband, son, and brother. But I wouldn’t be any of those things—or be where I am today—without my loving family, my faith in God, and my ability to make the best of a bad situation.
In a lot of ways, I was lucky. I grew up in Columbus, Georgia, and was born into a good, wholesome family. But I battled anxiety and depression from an early age. These experiences had a profound impact on me, the extent of which I did not fully realize until I was older. Somewhere along the way, God threw me a lifeline, and it came in the form of football. I loved the game, and as it turned out, I was pretty good at it. I became an All-American at the University of Louisville and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
I played against the best players in the world, but make no mistake: anxiety and depression were the toughest opponents I’ve ever had to tackle. Even though I was living my dream on the field, I was stuck in a nightmare off of it. My mind would race. Thoughts would come and go. One day, I thought about taking my own life. It was bad.
As men, and as football players, we’re taught to be stoic and courageous. We’re taught to play through pain. But at what cost? We often mask and suppress the dark thoughts we’re thinking, the deep secrets we’re keeping. No more. We have to confront what we’re feeling. We have to talk. We have to be vulnerable.
So I am. I want to end the stigma surrounding mental health, especially in professional sports. And, just as God threw me a lifeline, I want to do the same for others. That’s why I created the MII Foundation to provide physical, mental, and monetary resources to single mothers and at-risk youth.
There are people who need my help, who need our help, and I don’t want to let them down. I am fortunate enough to have a platform, and I don’t plan on wasting it. It would mean the world to me if you came on this journey with me.
We can make a difference. Together