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Carl Nassib, NFL’s First Openly Gay Active Player, Announces Retirement

Free agent defensive end Carl Nassib announced his NFL retirement on Wednesday morning after seven seasons.

Nassib, who played for the BrownsBuccaneers twice and the Raiders, shared a heartfelt post on Instagram post, saying that he could “hang up his helmet for the last time” knowing that he gave the sport everything he had.

“This is a bittersweet moment for me,” Nassib wrote. … Growing up I loved how fun football was. I loved the pursuit of perfection. I loved the small window where every player has to chase their dreams. …I really feel like the luckiest guy on the planet.”

He also thanked his family, friends, his agent and the teams that took a chance on him in the NFL, especially Tampa Bay. “These two [Jason Licht and John Spytek] reignited my career not once… but twice,” Nassib said. I was fired twice and they picked me up both times. I played my best football in Tampa and it never would have happened if it wasn’t for those two legends.”

In the 2021 offseason, Nassib made history when he revealed that he was gay, becoming the first openly gay active NFL player. As he enters retirement, Nassib plans to work with the league on diversity, equity and inclusion and “exciting philanthropic efforts” in the future, as The Athletic’s Vic Tafur detailed.

Nassib, who was drafted by Cleveland in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft, spent two seasons with the Browns, three seasons with the Buccaneers and two as a member of the Raiders. He finishes his NFL career with 187 combined tackles (128 solo), 45 tackles for loss, 59 quarterback hits, 25.5 sacks, 19 pass deflections, four forced fumbles and one interception in 99 games.