Former UGA player: Mark Richt ‘saved my life’

Mark Richt and former UGA Tra Battle both broke down in a tears after an emotional speech this week in the Atlanta area
John Bazemore / AP

Former UGA standout Tra Battle said he was down and in despair after retiring from football, and drove to a nearby bridge in the Athens area to end his life.

Before jumping, Battle decided to call Mark Richt, who he hadn’t communicated with in years.

Richt invited Battle to his house, where former teammates and a chaplain were waiting, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post’s David Almeda. Richt paid for Battle’s therapy on his long road to recovery.

On Tuesday, Battle thanked Richt publicly this week at the Neighborhood Cooperative Ministries 2021 celebration event in Peachtree Corners, Ga. Both men cried as Battle spoke:

“I’ve never said this to your face, Coach. But I thank you. I thank you for saving my life. I thank you for being there when I made the call, and you answered. I’ll always be grateful for the man that you are.”

Battle is famous in UGA football history for single-handidly ruining then-No.5 Auburn’s national championship hopes in 2006 with three interceptions, including one he returned 30 yards for a touchdown, in the 37-15 upset by the Bulldogs.

Battle played two seasons in the NFL, as a member of the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers, and then played minor-league football for three more years.

Go here to read the rest of David Almeda’s story in the Gwinnett Daily Post.

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