Carl Nassib has announced his “bittersweet” retirement from the National Football League (NFL) after seven years playing in it.
The athlete previously made history as the first openly gay active player in the NFL’s 103-year history after publicly coming out in 2021.
He will continue working with it on matters of “diversity, equality and inclusion”, as well as its philanthropic endeavours, People reported.
Nassib confirmed news of his retirement in a lengthy Instagram post on 6 September, where he wrote that his goal is to focus on Rayze – his company that has an app helping users give back to the causes they are passionate about.
“It really feels like just yesterday starting out as a walk-on at Penn State,” he said.
“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.”
“I was glad to do my part to help bring visibility and representation to my community”
Nassib used his coming out in June 2021 to highlight the work of the Trevor Project, a charity for LGBTQ+ youth considering suicide, by announcing a $100,000 (£80,300) donation to it.
This was quickly matched by the NFL, which shared its commitment to “year-long efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion”.
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During his first press conference after sharing that he is gay, Nassib revealed that he was shocked by how much attention his coming out received.
“It was incredible,” he said in August 2021. “I thought nobody would care. But it was just such a good feeling to have all that support. I was glad to do my part to help bring visibility and representation to my community.”
He also used the opportunity to dismiss those raising concerns that his sexuality would cause issues with other teammates.
“We’ve got a great locker room, great teammates. I’ve been met with nothing but love and support. It has been incredible,” Nassib continued.
“Football players get a bad wrap. But we’re humble, hard-working, accepting people. This was a great example of that.”