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Julius Thomas gives up football to pursue doctorate in psychology

Julius Thomas

For a couple of years in the not-so-distant past, Julius Thomas was one of the most dangerous touchdown makers in the entire NFL.

Over the course of his seven-year career, playing for the Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins, he hauled in 226 catches for 2,406 yards and 36 touchdowns, 24 of which were accumulated between 2013-14.

Now, at the age of 30, this native of Stockton, Calif. has opted to put football behind him in favor of pursuing a higher education, specifically to earn his doctorate in psychology.

Thomas made this announcement in a column for The Players’ Tribute. In the column, he divulged that he did truly love playing the game of football, which provided him with a tremendous opportunity to gain financial stability. However, more recently he realized there was more work to be done in his life outside of football.

“I realized that no matter my material success, I had much work to do internally,” Thomas wrote. “I could no longer play to the social ideal of the happy athlete millionaire. I had to take an honest look at who I was, or as Jung would say, dive into my “shadow.” To realize that life is tough emotionally on all of us. That we can’t grow until we have healed from the traumas of our pasts.”

In order to begin this journey, Thomas says he started reading and studying “Socrates, Eckhart Tolle, Aquinas, Brene Brown, George Mumford, David Hawkins, Dr. King, etc.” which helped him discover the other aspects of who he is.

“But by doing so I was able to become a fuller version of myself. Through this journey I was able to see the importance of love and compassion and the benefits of peeling back our masks. I became aware of how much others can benefit from this experience as well.”

With all that in mind, Thomas has decided to pursue education as he moves past football. He stated his goals for the next year to be:

  • Studying therapy and becoming well trained in it so that I can help people heal from their emotional and mental pain.
  • Investigating the effects of contact sports on brain trauma and neurobehavioral performance.
  • Participating in research looking at biomarkers that may identify early warning signs of brain disease.

We highly encourage you to read Thomas’ entire column, which delves into his football career, what got him turned on to psychology and how it all ties into the brain. It’s a wonderful, insightful and thoughtful piece.

He’s definitely embarking on an amazing new course in life, and we wish him well in his endeavors.