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Former Lions quarterback Erik Kramer jokes that he is a bad shot

Posted by Betonline team on 5/25/2016 4:38:32 AM
Former Lions quarterback Erik Kramer jokes that he is a bad shot

That might be the only reason he is alive today. Kramer suffers from depression and bad luck and bad relationships. He had enough and took an SIG Sauer 9mm handgun and shot himself in the chin. The bullet went through his sinus cavities and out of the top of his head, ripping a hole in his tongue. The bullet mangled his face but it did not kill him.

Now Kramer wants to tell his story to bring awareness of suicide. It is the 10th leading cause of death among Americans. So he spilled his guts out to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press who pinned a disturbing but important paper that all should read.

Kramer spent nine months in two hospitals in California where he underwent multiple surgeries and rehabilitation. Now Kramer believes he is recovered and has gotten rid of the demons that plagued him. “I don’t want to tempt fate but at this point I feel very good,” Kramer said. “And so my hope is to just keep living life and keep contributing and keep all that going.”

Kramer should have been the Detroit Lions starting quarterback for many years. But he was the last man in the pecking order behind veteran Rodney Peete and Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware, who was a hot shot prospect out of the University of Houston with a strong arm but little passing touch.

Kramer had no pedigree. He played junior college ball, went to North Carolina State and ended up in the Canadian Football League before signing as a free agent with the Detroit Lions in 1990. He got his big break in 1991 after Peete tore his Achilles tendon on a player nobody touched.

Kramer took advantage and led the Lions to their only playoff victory since winning the NFL Championship since 1957.

However, he felt unappreciated in Detroit and signed with the Chicago Bears where he was injured. Depression set in, but for a brief moment, you saw a glow on his face as he trotted off the field at Soldier Field after a satisfying victory over the Lions.

But all was not good inside.

“I think it was the fall from grace,” Kramer told the Free Press. “Coming in as the starter and the free agent and then getting hurt, feeling better after a few weeks like I could play, but then not getting the opportunity to. And I think that all played a part in it.”

This has little to do with the game of football. There were sad incidents in his personal life that made things difficult for him. His father Karl died of esophageal cancer and his son Griffin died of a heroin overdose in 2011.

Kramer got suicidal thoughts and reached out to friends, family, and doctors. He checked into the Eisenhower Center where another former Lions quarterback worked – Eric Hipple.

“When he came out, he was immobile,” Hipple told the Free Press. “He had a total lack of emotion. No joy, no feeling, just felt out of place completely and no energy, no appetite. So all the classic symptoms of clinical depression that go with him. My guess is he was probably riding that bench for quite a while and then, at the last moment not knowing, he just was stuck, so he made the phone call, and that’s when we went and got him.”

Birkett wrote: “Erick Kramer flew home last July, after a month long stay in Ann Arbor and almost immediately began planning his death.”

He crawled into bed one night and pulled the trigger.

“I would say there was emptiness,” Kramer said. “And I think, just all these people that have meant a great deal to me, all of a sudden were gone already or on their way out. So I think the loneliness that comes with that and, at the point of life I’m in now, all played a role. It’s too late to start over.”


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