NFL Player George Atkinson III, son of NFL Pro Bowler George Atkinson Jr. and brother of late NFL standout Josh Atkinson, died on Tuesday. He was 27 years old.
There was no cause of death announced for Atkinson III, however, it was confirmed that he was battling depression since the suicide death of his brother Josh last year.
Both George Atkinson III and Josh Atkinson were a part of the Fighting Irish’s 2011 recruiting class. Atkinson III was primarily a running back for the Fighting Irish from 2011 to 2013. He rushed for 943 yards and 10 touchdowns in his college career. Josh Atkinson was a defensive back at the same time. He recorded 10 total tackles and appeared in more than a dozen games for Notre Dame.
The brothers had a rough family upbringing. Atkinson III detailed their family life in an open letter after his brother’s death. He revealed that his mother was addicted to crack cocaine and that they would move around a lot because she wouldn’t be able to pay rent.
The brothers lived with their mother until they were 13 when their father took custody of them.
Atkinson III talked about his problems with his mental health but said he wouldn’t be around without his young daughter.
“Without my daughter, I don’t know where I would be right now. She gave me that second wind of motivation,” he wrote.
“I went to seek help and spoke to a psychologist. I realized I had to let go of this ego that made me think sharing my feelings was showing weakness. Also, I had to learn to love myself.”