COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State offensive lineman Harry Miller said he’s retiring from football because of mental health issues that pushed him to the brink of taking his own life.
Miller made the retirement announcement in a two-page letter posted on Twitter on Thursday in which he shared details of his struggle with mental illness and credited Ohio State coach Ryan Day with getting him help.
Miller is a 6-foot-4, 315-pounder from Buford, Georgia. A backup center his freshman year in 2019, he played regularly at left guard in 2020 and was expected to compete to be starting center in 2021.
“Prior to the season last year I told coach Day of my intention to kill myself,” Miller wrote. Day put him in touch right away with professionals who helped him get support.
“After a few weeks, I tried my luck at football once again, with scars on my wrists and throat,” Miller wrote. “Maybe the scars were hard to see with my wrists taped up. Maybe it was hard to see the scars through the bright colors of the television. Maybe the scars were hard to hear through all the talk shows and interviews. They are hard to see, and they are easy to hide, but they sure do hurt. There was a dead man on the television set, and nobody knew it.”
Miller tried to play through the pain because “at the time, I would rather be dead than a coward.”
“I had seen people seek help before,” he wrote. “I had seen the age-old adage of how our generation was softening by the second. … And I saw how easy it was for people to dismiss others by talking about how they were just a dumb, college kid who didn’t know anything.
“But luckily, I am a student in the College of Engineering, and I have a 4.0 (grade-point average) and whatever accolades you might require, so maybe if somebody’s hurt can be taken seriously for once, it can be mine. And maybe I can vouch for all the other people who hurt but are not taken seriously because, for some reason, pain must have pre-requisites.”
Miller said he was grateful for the infrastructure in place within the Ohio State program that allowed him to get help. He also said he was grateful that Day “is letting me find a new way to help others in the program.”
“If not for him and the staff, my words would not be a reflection. They would be evidence in a post-mortem,” Miller wrote.
A spokesman said Ohio State had no comment.
Miller was a straight-A student and valedictorian of his high school class. He had become a favorite of reporters covering the Buckeyes because of interviews that often touched on subjects ranging from classic literature to philosophy.