The Ultimate Comeback
On August 18, 2015, former NFL quarterback Erik Kramer pressed the cold barrel of a loaded gun firmly under his chin, closed his eyes, and pulled the trigger.
“I thought that would be the end,” Kramer told Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports in 2020. “(Now) I am walking through the wreckage and rubble of my life. But at least I feel normal walking through it.”
An evocative storyteller with an insatiable appetite to inspire others, Erik welcomes us to take that walk with him in his captivating new memoir, The Ultimate Comeback: Surviving Suicide, Conquering Depression, and Living with a Purpose.
Erik became a household name among rabid football fans in the 1990s. He guided the Detroit Lions to within one win of Super Bowl XXVI, set passing records for the Chicago Bears that still stand today, and carved out a respectable eleven-year NFL career despite being unrecruited in college and ignored on draft day. But for twenty long years, during his playing days and beyond, Erik suffered from depression.
Depression affects more than 300 million people globally, according to the World Health Organization. In 2019, 1.38 million Americans attempted suicide, an average of one every twenty-three seconds. Sadly, 47,511 of them, or one every eleven minutes, succeeded. Like many sufferers, Erik silently and resiliently plowed forward. But an eventual string of devastating personal losses destroyed his will to live—most notably the death of his teenage son Griffen from a heroin overdose and the passing of his mother nine months later.
“Losing Griffen was the biggest shock to my system that I ever encountered,” Erik told Wetzel. “Even though I was fairly young (50), I thought the better parts of my life were done, both professionally and personally.”
The Ultimate Comeback chronicles Erik’s improbable rise to gridiron fame, catastrophic plunge into the deep depths of depression, and miraculous physical and mental recovery following his suicide attempt. Though the book explores some heavy topics, Erik’s profound ability to connect to readers with empathy, sensitivity, and humor—the same ways he relates to everyone he meets—makes it a compelling read for all ages. The grief from Erik’s darkest days is well-balanced with his riveting behind-the-scenes stories as an NFL quarterback and, most importantly, practical solutions to help those with depression conquer their feelings of isolation and hopelessness and avoid mistakes he made.
Testimonials for The Ultimate Comeback
“Authors Erik Kramer and William Croyle unfold a gripping, well-written, deeply heartfelt, and emotional story. Kramer describes his battle with depression so well that readers can understand what depression can cause in a person’s psyche. The Ultimate Comeback is a powerful short read that packs so much insight and education about depression.”
— Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews
“Erik was a great competitor and a gifted quarterback. I enjoyed being his teammate and all of the guys respected him. I’m proud to see what Erik’s doing with his second chance at life. This book will help a lot of people.”
— Barry Sanders
Detroit Lions NFL MVP (1997) & Pro Football Hall of Fame running back
“Comeback stories dominate the games we love, but Erik Kramer’s comeback is about life itself. I loved his football resume, but his winning battle against the darker demons is what makes his story a great read.”
— Brent Musburger
Former CBS, ABC, & ESPN Broadcaster
“I’ve known Erik Kramer for over thirty years. His NFL career was incredible as he overcame unusual odds, but his football story is topped by his amazing life story. This book is a great inspiration to all, not just football fans. Erik is a winner on and off the football field.”
— NORV TURNER
NCAA and NFL Coach (1975-2019) & Super Bowl Champion (XXVII, XXVIII)