FORT WORTH, Texas — TCU standout defensive end Tommy Blake said he had to get away from football after he became overwhelmed with stress.
Blake will miss his second straight game, and third this season, when the Horned Frogs play today at Wyoming. His status is expected to be re-evaluated next week.
"I feel like I was putting too much pressure on football, and I wasn't taking care of myself as good as I should have been," Blake told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in his first interview in two months. "I had to pay attention to Tommy. Not the football player. Just Tommy."
Blake, on medical leave for undisclosed reasons for the second time this season, didn't openly discuss or disclose what has kept him off the field. He did, however, scoff at the idea that his absence was because of steroid use, drug abuse or plans to leave football for life in the ministry.
"People make up things," Blake said in the story published Friday. "Things that they say, they really don't know because they don't know me. I have never spoken to anybody. It's all just speculation."
Blake, a two-time All-Mountain West Conference pick who went into the season as a top NFL prospect, initially left the team during preseason practice and went home to Aransas Pass, about 370 miles from Fort Worth on the Texas Gulf Coast.
He returned the next week and was held out of the season opener. He played three games before taking another leave.
Blake said he has spent the past two weeks organizing his life. He said his 12-hour class load is in order, and he will need only nine hours after this semester to complete a degree in communications. He has also been working out, often late at night in TCU's weight room.
"I'm getting a lot of stress off my chest, just releasing the little things I've kept inside for a while," Blake said. "I'm always thinking about somebody else. It's always been like that. Now, I've just got to take care of me a bit."