(670 The Score) Former Bears running back Tarik Cohen penned a heartbreaking essay to his younger self that was published on the Players’ Tribune on Tuesday, a piece in which further family tragedy was revealed and in which he shed light on his personal and professional struggles while missing nearly two full NFL seasons with a serious knee injury.
In an editor’s note at the end of the essay, the Players’ Tribune revealed that Cohen’s younger brother, Dante, died in a car accident in early April. Dante had previously been paralyzed several years ago when he was shot. In 2021, Cohen also lost his twin brother, Tyrell, who died in an accidental electrocution in their home state of North Carolina.
Throughout the essay, Cohen detailed the guilt he felt as a big brother.
“You will never be fully clear of the pain,” Cohen writes to his younger self at the end of the essay. “And that’s OK. You wouldn’t want to forget the past anyway. Your past … it’s all just part of who you are now.
“But who you are can be so much more than just hurt.”
Cohen wrote that after Dante was shot and paralyzed, he took a legally registered pistol that he had in North Carolina and drove around in a fit of rage, looking for the man who allegedly shot Dante.
“You’ll be sitting there in the driver’s seat, holding that gun, ready to risk it all, to lose everything, for your little brother,” Cohen wrote.
“It’ll be like: Red shirt. RED SHIRT. RED SHIRT!!!!!!
“Thankfully, for everyone involved, you’re not going to find Red Shirt.
“But if you had? Man … I don’t even know.”
Cohen also explained that in addition to suffering a torn ACL in September 2020 shortly after signing a contract extension with the Bears, he also suffered a torn MCL and fractured his tibial plateau. He hasn’t played in a game since.
“Everyone is just going to think it’s a regular ACL tear,” Cohen wrote. “And, like you, they’ve seen Odell (Beckham Jr.) and a bunch of other guys come back from that in less than a year. So people are going to start questioning you on a bunch of different levels.
“Dudes on Twitter will be calling you ‘soft’ or talking about how maybe you’re just lazy.
“They’ll have no clue. About anything. Obviously.
“But it will still hurt.”
The Bears released Cohen with an injury designation back in March. He remains a free agent.
Cohen, who’s now 26, earned Pro Bowl honors and was an All-Pro return man in 2018. He rushed for 1,101 yards and had 209 catches for 1,575 yards across four seasons in Chicago.