Back in early April, Titus Young learned that he would be celebrating his 30th birthday while behind bars after receiving a four-year prison sentence for his role in a 2016 fight in Los Angeles, California. Since his last NFL season in 2012, Young’s name has been found in the local police blotter on more than a few occasions.
Dating back to Young’s high school days in Los Angeles, he has always seemed to find himself in hot water. Even after earning a football scholarship to play for Boise State, Young still could not stay out of trouble.
After Boise State suspended Young for the majority of his sophomore season, the wide receiver returned to the team the following year with what seemed like a new approach to living his life. It resulted in a strong finish to his college career and eventually getting selected by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Only three receivers were drafted ahead of him that year including current NFL superstars A.J. Green and Julio Jones.
During his rookie season, Young’s play on the field made the Lions feel like they had made a good decision to take a chance on the troubled receiver with a second-round pick. After a bit of a slow start, Young finished his first year in the NFL with 33 catches for 398 yards and six touchdowns in Detroit’s final nine games of the season.
He had a few hiccups during his rookie year, but nothing too major for the Lions to worry about. It was after the season when things started to trend downward for Young and his career in professional football.
During an offseason workout in 2012, he got into an argument that resulted in Young sucker punching one of his Detroit teammates. Before the start of the upcoming season, the receiver was also trying to convince his teammates that he was a better player than fellow Lions pass catcher Calvin Johnson (who will likely be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day).
Frustrated that he was not Detroit’s top receiver in their offense, Young began to do things on the field during the 2012 season with the intention of angering his coaches and teammates. His antics eventually led to the Lions benching the receiver in the middle of the year and then waiving him after the season had come to a close.
He was claimed by the then, St. Louis Rams shortly after Detroit let him go. But the Rams quickly realized Young was going to need more help than they could offer and parted ways with him just 10 days later.
Seeing that his life was crumbling before him, Young’s friends and family did their best to try and help him and the receiver even agreed to spend some time in a Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric Hospital shortly after he was cut by St. Louis according to a 2013 story by Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko.
Following his stay at the hospital, Young seemed like a changed person to those around him. But it was not a good change.
He ended up getting arrested three times in during a single week in May 2013. Soon after, Young was back getting help at an in-patient facility.
But it still did not seem to make a difference.
His friends and family knew something was up with the young man. The guy whose mugshots they were seeing on TV, was not the same guy they were used to being around.
“I’m not saying this because I love the kid: He’s never been like that. He’s a smart dude, a little bit wild. But that stuff, not him.”
2014 was not much better for the former Lions wide receiver. He was arrested after he punched his lawyer in the face several times and he was also arrested for assaulting five different people during a time span of just two months.
Following this set of legal troubles, Young’s father felt like helping his son was beginning to be somewhat of an impossible task.
“(He’s) sort of uncontrollable. We just haven’t been able to get him help. They take him to the hospital for a couple of days, then they have to let him out. They can’t hold him.
He’s just had a problem since his concussion. The CAT scan shows that. He’s had problems ever since the concussion. It’s been going on a long time. We don’t know what we’re going to do right now.”
The elder Young’s mention of his son’s behavior being the result of a concussion he sustained in the past is a bit interesting. The former wide receiver was never listed on Detroit’s official injury report with a concussion, but it is possible that he could have suffered from one that went undocumented.
With the way his career ended and all the legal trouble he found himself in during the years to follow, it seems obvious that Young may be suffering from something that is out of his control. It is very possible that his actions since his time in the NFL were due in part to the constant pounding his brain would take with every tackle on the football field.
If a concussion while with the Lions ends up being proven as the root of Young’s problems, then unfortunately he is just another member on the list of former NFL players whose lives have been ruined by the injuries they suffered while playing the game they loved.