Ex-NFL Player Kills Mother, Bringing Question To How League Handles Mental Illness

Former NFL player De’von Hall is accused of murdering his mother. His family believes NFL ignored his mental illness.

imagesThe family of De’Von Hall believes the former safety wasn’t offered help to combat his obvious mental illness which has resulted in the horrific death of a woman he once referred to as “his rock.”

Hall, who had stints with the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009, is being held on a $1 million bail after an argument escalated to violence in April outside Los Angeles. The argument led to Hall  stomping his mother unconscious, according to a Los Angeles Times feature story.

The 29-year-old Utah State product played in four games with the Colts, and had stays on the Vikings, Panthers, and Bucs’ practice squads. His strange behavior concerned his college and NFL teammates, even leading the Bucs to sever ties because they were afraid of how he might react to the rookie skits in training camp.

In Carolina, Hall was released after the team chaplain contacted his agent, concerned about Hall’s erratic behavior and soiled clothes. There were countless other incidents outlined by the Times, including a peculiar story Hall would tell teammates about the time he was allegedly in a car accident and hit his head and had to be restrained in a straitjacket.

Hall’s family blames the NFL for ignoring his issues.

“The NFL, in my opinion, should’ve done a better job in making sure they took care of this kid,” his uncle Tony Benson said, via the Times.

Some of Hall’s family also believe he doesn’t even realize his mother is dead. His public defender thinks Hall is not competent to stand trial and others agree.

“If he’s in jail with the regular population, he’s going to end up getting killed or killing someone else,” Dionte Holloway, who played at Utah State with Hall said. “De’von, mentally is gone. That’s not the De’von I know, that’s not the De’von I went to school with, that’s not my friend, that’s somebody who was out of their mind.”

The story does beg to question why several NFL organizations decided to look the other way when faced directly with a player displaying severe mental incapacities. Especially in light of the NFL’s recent outward acts of concern over head injuries and the behavioral results those injuries can create.

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