ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – During a game, some players look to the sideline, crowd or even each other to get pumped up.
Bills defensive end Mario Addison gets that motivation and spark by talking to his brother, Gjamal on the field.
“Especially when I’m not doing too good, I say let’s go G (his nickname) so I can feel myself like let’s go man, like get your ass going Mario.”
That is one of the ways Addison deals with losing him.
“He always wanted to make me proud, no matter what. So everything G did he tried his best to make his big brother proud. Before he passed I was very proud of him,” Addison said in an interview with News 4.
“He was the baby boy of five so he always, he didn’t really work because everything was almost given to him. And I told him, G man go get a job, you’re getting older now man it’s time to mature. I got on him for like a whole year and he finally got a job and he was doing well. And then bam, the tragedy happened.”
On October 27th, 2019, Addison was on a plane flying back from a road game when the Panthers played the 49ers. That’s when he got a text message that his little brother, Gjamal Antonio Rodriqcus was shot and killed in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.
“It broke me down to like my lowest point and I really had a hard time with dealing with it. I did everything I possibly could to try to keep a clear head but I couldn’t. Even to this day I’m not even that social as I used to be,” Addison said.
“I’m always replaying it in the back of my head of looking at my little brother in a casket.”
It’s now been one year since his brother was taken from him too soon.
“I was actually ready to give up, I really didn’t want to do that anymore, I didn’t want to play football anymore. I was in a real dark space. The back end of last year when I was playing with Carolina, like the last four games it was almost like ‘whatever’. My mind was so messed up,” Addison explained.
But Addison knows “G” wouldn’t want to see him like that.
“He definitely would want me to be happy and keep doing my thing on the field, honor him on the field every day so I had to snap out of it. I definitely did snap out of it and got my mind right and got it together,” Addison said.
When Gjamal passed away, Addison was met with love and support not only from his team at the time, the Panthers, but also his former coaches and teammates as well. Even though they were with the Bills, Addison said Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott also reached out to him.
“They did a great job comforting me and I needed it. Like I needed it. I thank all those guys for that because without them I would have lost my mind because not a day went by, I’m better now, that I wanted to do something bad. I was willing to throw it all away just to get revenge,” Addison said.
“That’s real when you’re in this dark place and you can’t control your mind. I tried my best to keep a clear mind the first couple of months, I tried my best. I couldn’t keep a clear mind, I wanted revenge, I wanted hurt somebody. And I was willing to throw it all away but I came around.”
Addison still feels the loss of his little brother but is now channeling those emotions to use as motivation to honor him in whatever he does, especially on the football field. Addison has cleats with a picture of the two of them painted on them, a thigh pad with his nickname on it and has a custom made necklace of his face.
And he’s starting to open up to his new teammates in Buffalo about his little brother.
“I’m older now, I’m a vet now so everybody looks at me, calling me Unc and stuff like that and I look at some of these guys like they’re my little brothers, which they are,” Addison said.
“Just talking about it more it kind of like eased the pain. The pain will never go away but I’m better with it now. I don’t have those terrible thoughts of doing a bad thing. Right now I just miss him more than anything I just miss him.”
Everywhere someone has dealt with or is dealing with the loss of a loved one and Addison’s story can be an inspiration on how to get through that painful experience. He had a message for those struggling with losing someone they love:
“Find a way to deal with it in a positive way. Yeah it hurt and it’s gonna hurt for a while you know try your best to stay around someone like a family member, someone you love,” Addison said.
“The more you stay around people, the more it will help you out. Don’t be alone, you’re not alone in this thing. That was my problem, I wanted to be alone and it wasn’t good at all. Once I got out of that shell and talking to people and opening up.”
It’s okay to cry ya’ll, let it out. Once you let it out it will make you feel better. So don’t ever feel like you’re alone.”
“If you need help, people always say go see a counselor, if you’re not ready to talk to one but talk to them when you’re ready because they can be a good resource.”