UCLA’s Martell Irby retires from football and details mental health issues
After four seasons at Westwood, a Bruin steps back and leaves the game behind.
Martell Irby joined UCLA football as a young running back from San Diego in 2018, and he eventually moved to defense in 2021. A year later, however, Irby decided to retire from football, he announced on social media via a song he released on Saturday night called “This Is Goodbye” (Warning: NSFW).
Prior to graduating from Morse High School (CA), Irby attended the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts, where he was part of the school’s award-winning jazz ensemble. The SoCal native has been playing saxophone since fourth grade and producing his own music for years, so there aren’t too many other football players who could have announced their retirement like Irby did.
Irby has appeared in all 12 games for UCLA in 2021, racking up 28 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and one blocked punt. As a running back, Irby played in another 20 games, rushing for 221 yards and a touchdown on 55 carries in addition to 108 receiving yards on 13 catches for his career.
During this last spring camp, Irby was sidelined without explanation by coach Chip Kelly. Irby first disappeared completely before finally returning to the field in shorts and a hoodie, and he even returned to individual exercises in the pads at the end of April.
Irby posted on Instagram on April 11 that he had been in a car accident several weeks earlier, just at the start of spring camp.
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It wasn’t the only troubling situation Irby found himself in this spring, either, as he released a vlog-style music video on Friday that was paired with a nine-minute explanation of what he’s been going through lately. weeks.
Irby detailed the mental health issues he’s been dealing with lately, culminating in a story of him leaving behind his phone, computer, keys and camera to venture around Los Angeles with no destination. The UCLA coaching staff attempted to call him earlier in the day when he didn’t show up for practice, but he said he decided not to answer and his condition had only worsened when staff called his mother to try to contact him. through her.
After returning home several hours later, Irby drove to the airport the next morning and flew to reconnect with his family. Irby said it was there that he recognized he had people around him who genuinely cared about him, and he spoke at length about the importance of being open with the people closest to him. during the most difficult times.
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