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Ex-Raider Carl Nassib, NFL’s first openly gay player, retires

Updated September 6, 2023 - 11:04 am

Former Raider Carl Nassib, the first active NFL player to come out as gay during his career, has retired from the league.

The edge defender, who spent seven seasons in the league and recorded 25.5 sacks, said he plans to step away from football to devote more attention to his positivity- and philanthropy-based social media platform.

“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,” the 30-year-old wrote on Instagram. “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.

“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.”

Nassib revealed publicly that he was gay in 2021 during his stint with the Raiders. At the time, he released a video and made an accompanying $100,000 contribution to the LGBTQ youth suicide prevention organization, the Trevor Project.

“I actually hope that one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary,” he said at the time. “But until then, I am going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that is accepting, that is compassionate.”

Nassib was drafted by the Browns in 2016 out of Penn State, where he was a unanimous All-American and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

He spent two seasons each with the Browns and Buccaneers before playing the 2020 and 2021 seasons in Las Vegas with the Raiders. Nassib returned to Tampa Bay last year for his final season.

Nassib played in 27 games, including five starts, in his two seasons with the Raiders. He recorded four sacks and his only career interception over that span.

In his first game after coming out, which was also the first game with fans at Allegiant Stadium on a Monday night against the Ravens, Nassib sacked Lamar Jackson and forced a fumble the Raiders converted into the game-winning points.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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