More than two years since he made a call that would drastically change his life, a former NFL replacement official is speaking out about his battle with depression.
In 2012, replacement official Lance Easley signaled a touchdown when Seattle Seahawks receiver Golden Tate and Green Bay Packers safety M.D. Jennings were wrestling for a pass in the end zone after a last-second heave, resulting in a 14-12 win by Seattle that stirred outrage among football fans. Two days later the NFL reached a tentative agreement with the officials union to end a lockout of the regular officials.
Dubbed the "Fail Mary,'' the controversial call has haunted Easley, who is hoping to help others suffering from depression by speaking out about his own struggles, including a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. He also has separated from his wife of 28 years and is on medical leave from his bank job. The Seahawks and Packers are set to play in the NFC championship game on Sunday, bringing up memories of that fateful game.
"You can beat yourself up for the decisions you've made in your life and that's not going to do any good,'' Easley told Joe Fryer on TODAY Wednesday. "You just do the best you can."
More from Easley:
- On the aftermath of the call: "Everybody's on your lawn, media, what not, for a week, and you don't know how long that's gonna last. They're digging through your trash, (and) you're having the police there to sweep them off. Death threats, (and) hundreds and hundreds of calls that I had to turn over to law enforcement so that they could run down every lead and make sure that we were safe."
- The effects of the call on others: "It's also attacked the loved ones in my family. They didn't deserve any of this - my son, my wife. Those are people that are just innocent bystanders."