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Hayden Hurst set on helping those with depression and anxiety

Hayden Hurst set on helping those with depression and anxiety

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Hayden Hurst immediately saw the impact of his documentary last week when, just hours after it aired, people reached out to him to tell their stories. 

Hurst was a part of a documentary titled “Headstrong” that aired on NBC Sports Washington last week, which detailed his struggles with depression and anxiety as a baseball player. The documentary will air on NBCSN on Nov. 20.

Now, Hurst is reaching out to tell his story in hopes of impacting those who struggle with mental illness, as he did.

“I think it’s going to reach a lot of people,” Hurst said. “Some people even reached out to tell me stuff that affects them in their lives. It’s very cool, it’s very humbling.”

Hurst was a standout baseball player in high school and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 17th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. He signed immediately and began his professional baseball career. 

But shortly thereafter, Hurst developed the “Yips,” and he was unable to throw strikes like he once did. On the mound, his hands shook when he attempted to pitch. Off the field, his condition began to deteriorate. 

He said he began to self-medicate and that’s when he started to seek help. 

After he retired from baseball, he decided to play football at the University of South Carolina and began to treat his mental illness. In 2018, he was a first-round pick of the Ravens.

“It’s night and day from where I was,” Hurst said. “Back in the baseball days, my lack of success in baseball kind of led to my off the field issues. I kind of self-medicated a little bit to make everything go away. Where I’m at now, I’m so much more mature, I’m so much more in-tune with the person that I am, I’m close with my family.”

Hurst is now set out on telling his story to help others who might be in the same situation that he was in. With his background as a professional baseball and football player, he’s hopeful that people will see his situation and feel compelled to talk about what they’ve been going through.

“I really want to tell my story so I get it out there and people can relate to it and they can see it and read it and see the silver lining in it,” Hurst said. “I think a lot of people struggle with things and not a lot of people like talking about it.”

It’s difficult for him to make speeches and speak with others during the NFL season, but he’s got plans to travel to Columbia, South Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida to reach out to people who might be in need of help in the offseason.

He’s already begun work in Baltimore and wants to continue to help through his foundation, the Hayden Hurst Family Foundation. 

For now, though, he wants everyone to know that it’s OK to not be OK. Hurst’s story proves that. 

“I think more people are affected by it than we think,” Hurst said. “It’s a sensitive topic and not many people like talking about it. I’m in a position where — this sounds worse than it is — I really don’t care what people think about me. I am who I am, it’s part of the make up of who I am and I’m going to tell my story.”


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NFL Pro Bowler Deonte Harris donating meals to hometown of Baltimore

NFL Pro Bowler Deonte Harris donating meals to hometown of Baltimore

Deonte Harris, a Pro Bowl return man for the New Orleans Saints who originally hails from Baltimore, is helping provide food for those facing food insecurity as COV-19 continues to strain wallets and resources across the world.

According to the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, Harris is working with local food banks in New Orleans and Charm City to provide 10,000 meals to the two communities.

Harris was an undrafted rookie free agent just one year ago, and was a D-II player at Assumption College prior to that. Now, he joins a growing list of athletes to step up for the communities during the pandemic.

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What are the fantasy implications of the Ravens trading Hayden Hurst?

What are the fantasy implications of the Ravens trading Hayden Hurst?

Fantasy football and the NFL season now go hand-in-hand. For many, drafting players and setting lineups each week in hopes of beating friends or co-workers has become the main incentive to keep up with the sport.

So, when the Ravens sent tight end Hayden Hurst to the Falcons in exchange for draft picks, it was more than a standard football trade to many. The swap will have an effect on the fantasy value and performance of both Hurst and the remaining tight ends on the Ravens roster.

On the latest Ravens Talk Podcast episode, NBC Sports Washington's Jordan Giorgio, Andrew Gillis and Ryan Wormeli discussed the trade and what's to come for both sides. From their analysis, one can begin to evaluate how the move will impact the fantasy football world.

Beginning in Baltimore, the trade doesn't mean that the Ravens are losing their No. 1 option at tight end. Though Hurst put up a solid 30 receptions for 349 yards and two touchdowns in 2019, it was Mark Andrews who had the breakout year on offense.

With 64 catches for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns, the Pro Bowler quickly became one of Lamar Jackson's go-to pass catchers. Now with Hurst departing, Andrews looks to be in line for even more production. Despite his impressive numbers from a season ago, it's possible that Andrews was held back a little by Hurst due to both tight ends needing time on the field and targets. 

Baltimore's three tight end system worked well in 2019, but with Hurst now in Atlanta, it seems that Andrews could benefit from more targets coming his way. Already a high-value fantasy tight end, there's no reason to think he's hit his peak just yet.

Fellow tight end Nick Boyle could see a bump in his production as well. Used more often as a blocker last season, Boyle still essentially mimicked Hurst's statline, catching 31 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns.

However, it would be naive to assume that all of Hurst's production will transfer to Andrews and Boyle. As Gillis explained on Ravens Talk, Baltimore will have to find someone new to replace Hurst's numbers - even if it isn't a tight end.

“You do lose that three-headed monster at tight end, you have to replace that with something," Gillis said. “It doesn’t have to come in the area that you would expect. It can be a receiver, It can be another running back if you like.”

That hole will most likely be filled during the 2020 NFL Draft in April. For now, all signs point to Andrews, and even Boyle, providing fantasy upgrades. Yet, their full value may be unknown until the Ravens 2020 offense takes its full form.

As for Hurst, the tight end could be heading for the breakout season that Baltimore had hoped for when it selected him 25th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. To get an idea of what may be in store for Hurst in Atlanta, Austin Hooper's 2019 numbers are helpful.

The former Falcons tight end, now a member of the Cleveland Browns, had 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns a season ago. Hurst can be looked at as his replacement, meaning he'll garner all of the targets Hooper received in an offense that loves to throw the football.

That, paired with Hurst's potential, could lead to a big 2020 season, according to Wormeli.

“It would not surprise me if he has a breakout season in Atlanta," Wormeli said. “They obviously lost Austin Hooper, Matt Ryan likes to throw to his tight ends so he’s going to get looks over there."

Gillis believes that being in Atlanta could help turn Hurst into "that Mark Andrews-type" player.

The coming months will help paint a clearer picture in terms of what is to come for Hurst and Andrews both on the field and in fantasy lineups. On paper, however, the trade looks to have increased both of their value come fantasy draft season.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.