Carl Nassib, the former Penn State All-American and five-year NFL defensive end, became the league's first active player to come out as gay. Nassib made the announcement on Instagram, calling it a "moment of gratitude and relief."
Nassib announced that he also will partner with The Trevor Project, a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ people ages 25 and younger. Nassib pledged $100,000 to the organization as well.
"I feel an immense responsibility to help in any way I can — and you can too," Nassib wrote in his Instagram post. "Studies have shown that all it takes is one accepting adult to decrease the risk of an LGBTQ kid attempting suicide by 40%. Whether you're a friend, a parent, a coach, or a teammate — you can be that person."
Nassib, who has played for Cleveland, Tampa Bay and the Las Vegas Raiders, is among Penn State's great defensive success stories of the past decade. He arrived at Penn State in 2011 as a walk-on defensive end and tight end from Malvern Prep who weighed 218 pounds and had few college offers.
Two years into his career, Nassib received a call from former Penn State coach Bill O'Brien, whom Nassib thought wanted to discuss his late tuition payment. Turns out, O'Brien wanted to offer Nassib a scholarship instead.
Ultimately, Nassib gained more than 60 pounds and became one of the top defensive ends in the country. As a senior in 2015, he led the nation in sacks (15.5) and forced fumbles (six), setting school records in both categories. Nassib was a consensus All-American, won three national awards (the Lombardi, Ted Hendricks Award and Lott IMPACT) and became a third-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns.
"I was proud of Carl when he led the nations in sacks, but I'm even more proud of him now," Penn State coach James Franklin said on Twitter. Franklin added that he and his wife Fumi will donate $10,000 to The Trevor Project.
"I actually hope one day videos like this and the whole coming out process just isn't necessary," Nassib said in his Instagram post. "But until then, I will do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate."