Sophomore linebacker Xavier Benson is stepping away from the Texas Tech football team as announced on his Twitter account. Benson started 10 games in the last season, and was the fourth leading tackler as a freshman in 2019.

Now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty, Benson is seeking help for his mental health, saying he wants to be an example and inspiration.

Here is Benson's powerful statement in its entirety:

My entire life I've felt like an outsider. Those around me never fully understood myself. I was in survivor mode and could never really catch a break in life. I know now that I need help and want help. With that, I have decided to take a leave of absence as a football student-athlete here at Texas Tech, so I can improve my mental health. This isn't a decision I take lightly, but it's one I know will help me in all walks of life moving forward. I want to more productive for my friends, my teammates and most importantly, my family - not just now but in the future. I know I need help with dealing with my past and how it affects my personal life. My hope is that my story can inspire anyone facing the same challenges I've battled my entire life to seek help. I've already learned it's OK to seek help. It's OK to talk to others. That's how healing begins. Please know you aren't alone.

Football players are often looked at as unbreakable tough guys who are maniacs on and off the field. In reality, they are complex human beings with problems just like the rest of us. Benson's admission and genuineness in seeking help is an admirable and courageous decision that should be respected.

The Texas Tech football team will now be replacing a starting linebacker, but that seems sp trivial next to a man getting his life set straight onto a health path that extends far beyond his playing days.

Prayers, positive vibes, and kudos to Xavier Benson.

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