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Carl Nassib, NFL's First Openly Gay Active Player, Makes Decision on Future

Free agent defensive end Carl Nassib, the first openly gay player to appear in an NFL game, announced his retirement on Wednesday (September 6) with plans to redirect his focus to his social media app Rayze.

“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 his Instagram account. “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. 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. It makes it all the more exciting if you get there. 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 came out in 2021 ahead of his final season with the Las Vegas Raiders, revealing his plan to donate $100,000 to the Trevor Project, which focuses on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth. The former defensive end's Rayze app links users to each other and nonprofits matching their interests or locations.

Nassib was selected by the Cleveland Browns at No. 65 overall in the third-round of the 2016 NFL Draft and spent his first two seasons with the franchise before multiple stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and two seasons with the Raiders. The former Penn State standout made 38 starts in 99 career appearances and recorded 187 tackles, 25.5 sacks, 45 tackles for loss, 59 QB hits, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, 19 pass deflections and one interception.

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