Carl Nassib, the first out gay NFL player, is retiring from the league after seven seasons.
Nassib made the “bittersweet” announcement on social media on Wednesday.
“This is a bittersweet moment for me but after seven seasons and just over 100 NFL games I am officially retiring from football to focus on my company Rayze,” Nassib wrote on Instagram.
“It really feels like just yesterday starting out as a walk-on at Penn State. Football has given me more than I ever could have imagined. I can truly hang up my helmet for the last time knowing I gave it everything I had.”
In June 2021, the defensive lineman with the Las Vegas Raiders became the first active NFL player in league history to announce that he is gay. Nassib said he agonized over the decision to make known he was gay for 15 years, adding that he was a private person and wasn’t seeking publicity.
Three months later, Nassib became the first out gay NFL footballer to play in a regular season game – a thrilling 33-27 victory against the Baltimore Ravens in which he had a decisive strip sack on Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in overtime.
“It was always my dream to play in the NFL, even as a walk-on, and I really feel like the luckiest guy on the planet,” he added.
The 30-year-old said he looks forward to working with the NFL on diversity, equity and inclusion matters.
“I think that I can provide a very rare and specific view of how life is for an out gay player, and I think that there are some amazing opportunities that I can also learn,” Nassib told People.
Nassib continued: “Maintaining that relationship shows that the NFL is continuing to support me. They’ve supported me so much over the last two years, and I really couldn’t have done it without that support.”
The seven-year veteran was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Penn State. He played for the Browns from 2016 to 2017, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018, 2019 and again in 2022 and the Raiders from 2020-2021.
Nassib recorded 25.5 sacks, 187 tackles, 59 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and one interception in his career, according to the NFL.