Lay Off Shawn Andrews

Shady BotrosAnalyst IMay 17, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - 2007:  Shawn Andrews of the Philadelphia Eagles poses for his 2007 NFL headshot at photo day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Getty Images)

Shawn Andrews, the starting Pro Bowl right guard for the Philadelphia Eagles, is one of the best in the game at what he does.  When his mind is in the right place, Andrews is a perennial Pro Bowler.

However, Andrews was diagnosed with depression last year and was suffering a back injury, which caused him to miss the 2008 season. Many people have criticized Andrews for being one of the highest paid offensive linemen, and sitting out the 2008 season. However, many of us do not know what Andrews is going through.

Andrews was born poor in Camden, Arkansas, as one of three children.  His mother, Linda, had to support him and his siblings with a 300 dollar a week job in a paper mill. As a child, Andrews was made fun of for being overweight and poor. Ever since then, Andrews has always been concerned with his body image. Most of us don’t know what that feels like growing up in Arkansas poor and overweight.

As a 12 year old, Andrews was encouraged to go out for the football team because of his size. Andrews, although highly talented, was forced into football, not because of dreams playing in the NFL, but because he was at 230 pounds at 12 year old.

Andrews admitted that he was not a fan of football and had never watched a full game unless he was playing in it.  Andrews left the University of Arkansas a year early, in order to support his mother, who he had said struggled to keep the lights on.

After Andrews signed a NFL contract, his friends began trying to take advantage of him, asking him for money for things such as rent, car loans, and child support. One of his longtime friends from back home had even invited him to a deer hunting camp, in order to kill him and make it look like a hunting accident. Andrews had gone on a spending spree buying a 300K dollar Rolls-Royce and buying his mom a Mercedes Benz.

In 2008, Andrews’ depression got even worse, he had gone off medication and admitted that he was drinking and partying in order to get away from things.

Andrews admitted that now the medication was crucial for him.

Andrews’ son JaShawn was born 13 and a half months ago, Andrews was extremely happy, but it made him realize that he would have to be there for his son, unlike his father who was not there for him.

Andrews said that he will not encourage his son to playing football. The birth of his son may have been a wakeup call because Andrews’s career was heading south, and when the Eagles threatened to fine him 15,000 dollars a day for sitting out of training camp, he relaxingly said “so what.”

Now Andrews has realized that he needs to get back into football, in order to financially support his son. Andrews worries that he might be so injured that he will struggle to have a catch with his son.

The Eagles brought in Shawn Andrew’s brother Stacy Andrews and college teammate and roommate Jason Peters.

Hopefully, both will help Andrews stay in the right mind and focus on getting back to playing at a pro bowl level, like he used to.

Andy Reid has decided that for now, Andrews will play right tackle, Reid has said that Andrews is “doing a great job.”

Andrews said, “I am at a better point mentally and physically.” Hopefully, Andrews will come back, stay healthy, and have a great year playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. So please just lay off Shawn Andrews for now.