JOE BARKSDALE is a formidable offensive tackle for the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers who started 42 of 48 games over the last three seasons. Named the Chargers’ Lineman of the Year in 2015, Barksdale drew additional accolades in 2017 for his work tackling the stigma of mental illness.
After suffering silently for close to 20 years, Barksdale began speaking openly about his daily struggles with depression and frequent thoughts of suicide, most recently in November 2017. He decided to take action and seek professional help, and is encouraging others to do the same. “The first step is realizing there is a problem, because once you’ve done that, you’re much more likely to get help,” he says.
Barksdale originally joined the Chargers in May 2015, agreeing to a one-year contract late in free agency. The former Oakland Raiders third-round draft pick exceeded expectations, playing 624 snaps, more than any player on the roster, including quarterback Philip Rivers. Barksdale not only played a lot, but he played on both sides of the line.
In 2013, after Barksdale lost a father-like figure, he turned to music to help him get through that tough time when his then-coach Jeff Fisher suggested he take up guitar. Joe being the competitive person that he is, wanted to excel at guitar, and after just under 4 years of playing released his debut album, Butterflies, Rainbows, & Moonbeams.
Hailed by The San Diego Union Tribune as “a guitarist looking to narrow the gap between him and Hendrix,” it’s clear Barksdale is a product of his musical influences. Devoted to growing and developing, he can be found captivating audiences with his innovative, layered, and distinct sound.