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Ravens TE Hayden Hurst Continues To Make Name For Himself, Scoring Career-Best 61-Yard TD

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- At 26, Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst continues to make a name for himself.

In Sunday's matchup against the Buffalo Bills, Hurst scored a touchdown on a pass from Lamar Jackson, running the ball for a career-best 61 yards.

The former MLB pitcher made the switch to football, landing with the Ravens as the 25th pick in the 2018 NFL draft, getting drafted even before Lamar Jackson.


But off the field, he's overcoming a personal battle that often sidelines a lesser man: a battle with his mental health.

"When I first started noticing it, my palms would get kinda sweaty; when I would hold the baseball, my hands would shake," Hurst said in an interview with WJZ's Denise Koch last year.

READ MORE: Ravens Rookie TE Hayden Hurst Shares His Story To Help Destigmatize Mental Illness

He called "it" the yips. At 19 and pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league team, he suddenly couldn't throw.

The team sent him to a series of doctors.

"I was reaching for everything, you know," he said. "Hypnotist (...) tapping methods on your forehead. I exhausted every resource possible to try and fix the problem."

Finally, he found the answer at home in a talk with his dad, who opened up about his history of anxiety and panic attacks.

"Mine really came from pitching, that's' where most of my anxiety revealed itself," Hurst said. "I would be on the mound and I would want no part of it. I would not want to be out there, my palms would get sweaty, I would start shaking, I would want to vomit."

Hurst worked his way through it for a couple of years, learning resilience before deciding to make a change and trading a mitt for a helmet.

In the process, he regained what he called his "badass" self.

"For me, the 'badass' is when I just stop thinking," he said. "I can go out on a football field and that's where I can just cut it loose. In baseball, when you're a pitcher there's so much thinking and it's such a slow pace those thoughts just creep into your head; in football, everything happens so fast (...) For me, I can just come out here and be the athlete God intended me to be and cut it loose."

Hurst knows anxiety and depression well, and he's making it a mission to share his experience in an effort to de-stigmatize mental illness and help other young people.

A foot injury early (this??????) season offered a new physical and emotional challenge.

"My mom was able to come up here for a while, but yes, it was hard. I'd never had a football injury before but I'm starting to break through," he said.

Hurst and his mother have since started the Hayden Hurst Foundation to de-stigmatize mental illness, especially in adolescents who often suffer in silence.

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