2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Browns rookie Gilkey knows pain of being bullied

By TOM WITHERS - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-06 02:25

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Ridiculed as an awkward high school kid, Garrett Gilkey knows the pain of being bullied.

The tears. The self-doubt. The longing to belong.

But Cleveland's rookie offensive lineman, who has become an anti-bullying advocate, can't fathom the suffering endured by Miami's Jonathan Martin, who left the team last week because of emotional issues. The team has since suspended teammate Richie Incognito for his treatment of Martin.

''I can't imagine what he has gone through the past year and a half,'' Gilkey said of Martin on Tuesday as the troubling situation with the Dolphins became a bye-week topic for the Browns. ''I don't care if you're a 24-year-old NFL lineman, bullying is the same as if you were a 9-year-old girl. I can't help but feel for Martin, knowing that it was a very real battle and I've felt that battle growing up.

''I know that struggle and I can't imagine that in such a high-stress job and having to go through that.''

It hasn't been easy, but Gilkey, a seventh-round draft pick from Chadron State, has been able to move on from the traumatic taunts and pranks of his youth. Gilkey spoke openly about being booed during a school assembly for being on the scholastic team, having someone urinate in his baseball glove and once being pinned down and having a ''soiled bodily device thrown in my mouth.''

Gilkey has empathy for Martin, who allegedly received racist and threatening text messages from Incognito.

''It's one thing when you're a little kid and you go to your parents back at home,'' said Gilkey, who was forced to transfer in high school to escape harassment. ''In the NFL, your familiarities are small and the likelihood of having family and friends near you and by you is very small, so being on your own essentially and having to constantly being scared or however you're going to be hazed or ridiculed or made fun of, it doesn't matter how old you are or how big you are, no one should have to go through that.''

Three weeks ago, Gilkey spoke to a group of middle school students in Peninsula, Ohio, never thinking his message of tolerance and togetherness would become something he and his teammates would be addressing in the context of the Miami mess.

In explaining how bullying can break someone, Gilkey equated a person to being like a sponge with the capacity to handle only so much.

''One of the key messages that I gave was essentially the school is like a team and you have to lean on each other if it's going to function the way it's supposed to,'' he said. ''I can't help but have empathy for Martin, knowing that a team is supposed to be a unit. It's supposed to function together as one and those feelings of separation can be very damaging, and evidently it's just a matter of time when the sponge has to release.''

Gilkey characterized Cleveland's locker room as being ''healthy'' and other than having to sing a country and western song in front of the team, he has not been subjected to any ''hazing'' during his first year as a pro.

''There's a difference between being heckled by veteran teammates or joked around with by older teammates when there is as relationship there,'' Gilkey said. ''When you have a relationship with guys and you are able to talk to guys and have a close relationship, that's different. It's like having an older brother. You love your younger brother, and you're going to pick on your little brother, and so I think that is the difference. When there is no relationship in the context, it creates bullying.''

Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said every NFL player goes through some rite of passage, but it's usually something as innocent as bringing doughnuts for the veterans, or, in his case, baby-sitting former teammate Andra Davis' kids.

Jackson said there is an understanding of the line between what's suitable and what's off limits and the Browns know not to cross it.

''There's obviously the rookie hazing where you shave a guy's head or things like that,'' Jackson said. ''That's all fun. Your hair grows back. We wouldn't cut off Garrett Gilkey's hair because he has long hair. You wouldn't do that to a guy. It's all in fun. You've got to have fun.

''When a guy feels like he's being singled out, that's not acceptable at all.''

Gilkey isn't surprised by reports that Incognito, who has been suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins, claims he was once bullied.

''It can be a vicious circle,'' he said. ''A lot of times with individuals who were bullied they have this cycle where they struggle to find that affirmation. So later on you will see kids who were bullied will bully other children because of that inner struggle for affirmation.''

Gilkey said his strong faith has allowed him to become mentally strong.

He prays Martin will one day have the strength to move on, too.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Mike CampanaroAug 28 09:13a

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro remains in the mix for a spot on the 53-man roster. If the team elects to keep just five receivers, he would be competing [ More ]

D. Heyward-BeyAug 28 09:10a

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Darrius Heyward-Bey appears to be in good shape for a roster spot, as the team will likely keep six receivers on the 53-man roster. WRs Antonio [ More ]

Cam NewtonAug 28 12:53a

Updating a previous report, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ribs) said Wednesday, Aug. 27, that he will be ready for the regular season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers [ More ]

Frankie HammondAug 27 10:42p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Frankie Hammond Jr. is likely to start in place of suspended WR Dwayne Bowe in Week 1.

Derek CarrAug 27 10:40p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr appears firmly entrenched as the primary backup quarterback behind starter QB Matt Schaub (elbow), even though QB Matt McGloin has posted the best numbers of the preseason.

Wes WelkerAug 27 10:31p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) made another positive step Tuesday, Aug. 26, in his recovery from another concussion, according to head coach John Fox. Welker has still not [ More ]

Matt SchaubAug 27 10:23p

Oakland Raiders QB Matt Schaub (elbow) will be the team's starting quarterback in Week 1 against the New York Jets assuming his elbow is better and he can get [ More ]

Timothy WrightAug 27 10:23p

The New England Patriots really like TE Timothy Wright, acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for OL Logan Mankins. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport even considers him as the team's 'new' [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIAug 27 09:43p

Washington Redskins QBs Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins aren't involved in any kind of quarterback controversy, according to head coach Jay Gruden. The first-team offense has yet to [ More ]

Nate FreeseAug 27 09:27p

Detroit Lions PK Nate Freese has won the kicker job, because the team has released PK Giorgio Tavecchio.

Kory SheetsAug 27 06:53p

Oakland Raiders FS Larry Asante (undisclosed), WR Greg Jenkins (undisclosed) and RB Kory Sheets (undisclosed) all were placed on the team's Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Aug. 27.

John PotterAug 27 06:43p

The Miami Dolphins placed PK John Potter (hip) on the Reserved/Injured list Thursday, Aug. 27.

Matt JohnsonAug 27 06:33p

The Dallas Cowboys placed TE Jordan Najvar (undisclosed), S Matt Johnson (hamstring), CB Justin Green (undisclosed), LB DeVonte Holloman (neck) and CB Johnny X. Thomas (undisclosed) were all placed [ More ]

L. WestbrooksAug 27 06:23p

The Cincinnati Bengals placed LB J.K. Schaffer (concussion) and CB Lavelle Westbrooks (thumb) on the Reserve/Injured list.

D.C. JeffersonAug 27 06:23p

Carolina Panthers TE D.C. Jefferson (undisclosed) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Wes WelkerAug 27 06:03p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) has been ruled out of the team's final preseason game Thursday, Aug. 27, but has been exercising and will travel with the team.

Tim BenfordAug 27 05:23p

Dallas Cowboys waived WR Tim Benford Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Wes WelkerAug 27 05:13p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) has not been cleared to practice at this point but is making good progress.

Jemea ThomasAug 27 05:03p

The Dallas Cowboys claimed S Jemea Thomas (Patriots) off waivers Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Tandon DossAug 27 05:03p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Ace Sanders (personal) and WR Tandon Doss (ankle) may be able to play in the final preseason game after missing the first three preseason games. Head [ More ]

Josh ScobeeAug 27 04:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars PK Josh Scobee (quadriceps) said he is not sure if will be able to play Week 1 because of his quadriceps injury. PK Kasey Redfern may make [ More ]

D.J. HaydenAug 27 04:33p

Oakland Raiders CB D.J. Hayden (foot) is considered a few weeks away from returning to practice, according to head coach Dennis Allen. Allen said he expects Hayden will be [ More ]

Richard MarshallAug 27 04:23p

San Diego Chargers CB Richard Marshall has been working at safety because of the injury to SS Jahleel Addae (hamstring). Marshall's versatility could help him make the final roster.

Ryan McBeanAug 27 03:53p

The Arizona Cardinals cut DE Ryan McBean Wednesday, Aug. 27.

Tommy KellyAug 27 03:43p

Arizona Cardinals DT Tommy Kelly agreed to terms on a one-year contract Wednesday, Aug. 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Josh GordonAug 27 03:03p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon's representatives are considering a lawsuit against the NFL which could seek an injunction to put the suspension on hold until the legal process takes [ More ]

Pierre DesirAug 27 02:43p

The Cleveland Browns may consider placing CB Pierre Desir (knee) on the Active/Reserve/Injured list, which would keep him out for at least eight weeks of the season.

Phillip TannerAug 27 01:53p

The Dallas Cowboys will sign free-agent RB Phillip Tanner (Colts), according to sources.

Josh GordonAug 27 01:43p

Updating previous reports, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be allowed to apply for reinstatement after the 2014 season and not after a full calendar year.

Josh GordonAug 27 01:23p

Updating previous reports, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not be allowed at the team's facility during his one-year suspension. The team hoped they would be able to work with him during the suspension.

Zach ErtzAug 27 01:13p

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz is expected to be more involved in the passing game this season and has shown the confidence to be a solid pass catcher, according [ More ]

Josh GordonAug 27 01:03p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not be allowed to file for reinstatement during his one-year suspension, according to a source. His representatives will look [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group