|No. 54, 53|
August 26, 1980 |
|High school:||Sweet Home (NY)|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Keith Daniel O'Neil (born August 26, 1980 in Rochester, Michigan) is a former American football linebacker of the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants. He earned a Super Bowl ring with the Colts in Super Bowl XLI as they beat the Chicago Bears. He played college football at Northern Arizona.
He attended Northern Arizona University. He was a four-year letterman and three-year starter who had 225 career stops, 20 sacks, 49 tackles for losses and three interceptions. He was first-team All-Big Sky choice as a junior and senior. O'Neil also earned All-American honors.
O'Neil was signed by Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent after the 2003 NFL Draft. After his first season, he notified head coach Bill Parcells his intentions to retire from professional football, stating he was dealing with anxiety and sleepless nights. Parcells and the team provided help, allowing him to become a core special teams player and the backup weakside linebacker for Dexter Coakley.
In 2006, he was inactive for 5 games with a high ankle sprain, he later suffered two fractured ribs and a sprained knee, but still was able to be a part of the Super Bowl XLI winning team. The next year, he started on the physically unable to perform list recovering from a sports hernia surgery. After suffering a chest injury during training camp, he was placed on the injured reserve list and was eventually released.
On February 22, 2008, he was signed as a free agent by the New York Giants, after spending a year out of football. To focus on improving his mental health, he decided to retire and was placed on the reserve/retired list on June 2.
O'Neil is the son of former NFL linebacker Ed O'Neil. O'Neil's brother Kevin O'Neil played football for Syracuse University. He experienced extreme anxiety during his time in the NFL, that created a serious sleep disorder and eventually was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After retirement O'Neil was determined to help others who live with similar struggles. He founded the 4th and Forever Foundation which raises awareness for mental health and funds research for mental illness. O'Neil is an American writer as well as a mental health advocate and international speaker. He is the author of the book, Under My Helmet, A Football Player's Lifelong Battle with Bipolar Disorder. 
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