"For whatever reason, God looked down on me and gave me a second shot at this thing. And I made a promise, I'm going to make the most of this opportunity."

Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst is opening up on his battles with drugs, alcohol and depression ... calling his 2016 attempted suicide "the best and worst thing that's ever happened in my life."

Hurst first started to acknowledge his mental health issues in 2013 when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system.

The 27-year-old says he relied on drugs and alcohol to cope with panic attacks ... and after being unable to control his pitching due to his hand constantly shaking, ended up pursuing a football career at the University of South Carolina.

"I can't really explain it," Hurst said in a video posted by the Falcons on Thursday. "It's hard to unless you go through it."