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Hill: Chandler Jones saga difficult to watch, cover

Updated October 9, 2023 - 1:30 pm

Believe it or not, journalists are actual real-life human beings. There are stories we cover that are more than just headlines and clicks.

The Chandler Jones saga has been excruciating to follow on a day-to-day basis, and I’m certain I’m not alone.

For those who have not followed along or have tuned out all the wild twists and turns, Jones is the former star Raiders pass rusher who appears to be in the throes of an extended mental episode.

I write this as I am surrounded by friends and family for my brother’s funeral.

He was besieged by mental illness from a young age and battled it his entire life. He was one of the smartest and funniest people who ever lived, but very few people ever experienced that side of him, despite how personable he could be on the rare occasion his tortured brain would let him interact with humans.

He could have done anything he wanted, but he never really accomplished anything other than leaving behind some wonderfully profound and often hilarious social media posts — and the mark he left on loved ones.

That’s important and special. It really is. But he never found happiness, even when he was laughing and smiling. He was forever tortured, and he often inflicted that torment on those he loved the most. He made life incredibly difficult on those who tried hardest to ease his pain. Such is the dichotomy of crippling mental illness.

Oftentimes, you hear the phrase, “It gets better.” For many, that’s true. But not always. Our hopes of him one day finding “normalcy” and some form of contentment, whatever that means, ended the day he was killed in an accident.

It never got better.

By no means am I trying to diagnose anything in Jones, and I am not remotely comparing him to my brother. There are no indications this has been the kind of lifelong battle we endured in our family.

But it has colored the lens through which I have viewed the recent events involving Jones, whom I first met when I was covering the early stages of his brother Jon’s UFC career when Chandler was a star at Syracuse.

Chandler Jones insists he’s fine, and it’s not our job as journalists and fans to declare otherwise.

But it’s been difficult to watch his very public episodes and find the balance between what is newsworthy and what should be private between him and his family. It’s been extremely uncomfortable for all of us who cover the team to decide what to report on.

Obviously, the arrest is a problem. The details outlined in the police report are troubling. But as far as the social media and livestream rants, those are just tough to see.

Here’s hoping he finds comfort and happiness for himself, his family and everyone around them. Not everyone does before it’s too late.

And please don’t hesitate to reach out and get help, whether it’s you dealing with mental health struggles or someone around you, which can often be just as difficult.

Who’s next?

That was a bit much for a column that typically trends far more snarky and silly, so let’s get back to normal.

After a pretty positive start, the tide is starting to turn on “Traylor.” Yeah, it seems like that’s the name we’re going with for the Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift relationship. Seriously, people are getting such Bad Blood about what seems to be a very nice Love Story.

You Need To Calm Down.

Sorry if your Delicate psyche is ruined by having to see quick cutaways of a pop star every few minutes, but you should probably get used to it. This is going very, very well for the league, so expect the NFL to encourage more relationships with celebrities.

We already know Lizzo’s new man is on the Minnesota Vikings. But don’t be shocked if Roger Goodell plays matchmaker between players and more celebs or even sets up an app to find players for Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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