Ohio State offensive lineman Harry Miller retires, describes mental health battles

Bill Rabinowitz
The Columbus Dispatch
Center Harry Miller (76) warms up for the Ohio State spring football on April 17.

Ohio State offensive lineman Harry Miller has decided to retire from football in an announcement on Twitter in which he said he contemplated suicide.

“Prior to the season last year, I told Coach Day of my intention to kill myself,” Miller wrote. “He immediately had me in touch with Dr. Candice (Williams) and Dr. (Josh) Norman, and I received the support I needed. After a few weeks, I tried my luck at football once again, with scars on my wrists and throat.

“…There was a dead man on the television set, but nobody knew it.

”At the time, I would rather be dead than a coward. I'd rather be nothing at all, than have to explain everything that was wrong. I was planning on being reduced to my initials on a back of a helmet."

Miller started at left guard in 2020 and was expected to be the Buckeyes' center last year. But he was injured before the season opener against Minnesota and played sparingly.

Miller is a two-time OSU Scholar-Athlete, Academic All-Big Ten and Big Ten Distinguished Scholar who carries a 4.0 grade point average as an engineering major. 

Mental Wellness:Christina and Ryan Day Fund for Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Wellness subject of ESPN/FOX features

Miller said he wouldn't have shared his story if not for his status as a football player, which he said would not allow him the privilege of privacy.

"...I will share my story briefly before more articles continue to ask, 'What is wrong with Harry Miller?' That is a good question. It is a good enough question for me to not know the answer, though I have asked it often."

Miller said he had let go of his anger "because I did not know if God would forgive me if I went to him in anger. I did not know how the Host of Hosts would respond to my untimely arrival, and I did not want to tempt him. So in my sadness, I lost my anger and learned many things."

Miller said he is grateful for the mental-health infrastructure that Ohio State has instituted in recent years. Day, who as a child lost his father to suicide, has made promoting mental health a personal mission.

"I am grateful he is letting me find a new way to help others in the program," Miller wrote.

"I hope athletic departments around the country do the same. If not for him and the staff, my words would not be a reflection. They would be evidence in a post-mortem."

How to seek help

If you or someone you know is experiencing a behavioral health crisis or suicidal thoughts, you can reach Ohio's 24/7 Crisis Text Line by texting 4HOPE to 741741, or call the Franklin County Suicide Prevention Hotline at 614-221-5445; the Teen Suicide Prevention Hotline at 614-294-3300; or the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255/TALK (1-888-628-9454 for Spanish speakers).

Bill Rabinowitz covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at brabinowitz@dispatch.com or on Twitter @brdispatch.

Get more Ohio State football news by listening to our podcasts