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New Alabama assistant Jay Graham resigning to focus on mental health

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Alabama assistant Jay Graham explained Wednesday why he had recently resigned from his position.

Graham, a former assistant at Tennessee, was hired as Alabama's tight ends coach and special teams coordinator in February. He parted ways with the team earlier in the week and said on Twitter that he had resigned to focus on his mental health. He noted in his statement that it can be hard for those in sports to talk openly about mental health issues and hoped that his willingness to speak out and seek help would also help others do the same.

"The events of the past year have taken a toll on millions of people around the world, not only in lost loved ones or lost jobs but in unprecedented anxieties and mental health," Graham wrote.

"I am taking time away from football to seek professional help immediately, gain a better understanding of mental health and spend time with loved ones. I hope to rebalance my life so that I am able to return to my passion of coaching and helping student-athletes pursue their dreams.

"While mental health issues are not new, they are often difficult to discuss, especially for coaches/athletes. I hope my voice inspires others that may be struggling to seek help."

Graham was one of five new assistant coaches Alabama hired in the offseason. He was part of an incoming coaching class that included former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone and former Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien. Marrone is the team's offensive line coach while O'Brien is the team's offensive coordinator.

Alabama coach Nick Saban commented on Graham's departure in his post-practice news conference Wednesday afternoon.

"Jay made a decision to do what he did and we’re going to support him any way that we can and we certainly wish him and his family the very best for what they do," Saban said.


Graham coached at Tennessee in 2020

Graham is a former Tennessee running back and spent one season at his alma mater. The Vols hired a new coaching staff after the 2020 season following an internal investigation into recruiting violations by now-former coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Before coming to Tennessee, Graham coached at Texas A&M for two seasons. He arrived in College Station with Jimbo Fisher after serving on Fisher's Florida State staff from 2013-2017. His departure from Tuscaloosa means that Alabama coach Nick Saban has one on-field opening on his coaching staff.

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