CHARLOTTE – Mario Addison is a dynamic NFL edge rusher. He’s also a grieving brother.
And right now it’s hard to be both.
“I’m fair,” Addison said at his locker Thursday. “I can’t say I feel good. I can’t say I’m happy. I can’t say I’m sad or angry. I’m all of them. It can change every two minutes, you know what I’m saying?”
Addison’s younger brother Gjamal Antonio Rodriqcus was shot and killed in Birmingham, Alabama on the night of October 27th.
Addison was boarding the team’s flight home from San Francisco when he first got a call that something was wrong. He was in the air when he learned that his brother had passed.
Fellow edge rusher Bruce Irvin was next to Addison on the plane when the news was communicated.
“I ain’t cried in what, five years,” Irvin said. “When he found out, I was crying like a baby on the plane. That’s our guy. Trying to help (Mario) get past it and try to move on.”
Addison went home to Birmingham to be with his family last week, and he did not play in Carolina’s win over Tennessee. General manager Marty Hurney and executive director of football staff Mark Carrier attended the funeral.
“It meant a lot to me,” Addison said of the team’s support.
Addison’s was touched by his teammates’ decision to drape his jersey on the bench during the Titans game.
“I showed my mom the picture that (the Panthers) posted and she started crying,” Addison said. “She said, ‘You know, we are going to get through this.’”
After the game was over, Addison saw video of head coach Ron Rivera emotionally honoring him with the game ball. He plans to bring that ball home to his mother.
Addison re-joined the team this past Monday. He was eager to get back.
“A whole lot of mixed emotions while I was there (in Birmingham),” Addison explained. “I just wanted to get away and be back with these guys and actually use football to clear my mind. I think I’m ready to get back on the field. I worked out with the team and went through meetings and it felt good.”
Addison was a full practice participant Wednesday and Thursday and his set to return to action on Sunday against Green Bay
He’s already got a special sack celebration planned.
“Check me out when I get a sack,” Addison said with a smile. “I’m going to do a little pose that he used to always do.”
Addison has always thought of home when taking the field. A few weeks ago, he posted a picture of he and his brother prior the Jaguars game with the caption: “This is what I play for. My family S/O to my baby brother.”
His baby brother will continue to be a major source of inspiration.
“It’s going to add fuel to the fire. It’s going to make me turn up even more,” Addison said. “I’m playing for a higher cause, which I was from the get-go. Now I’m playing with a chip on my shoulder, and the chip is ‘G.’”