Former National Football League (NFL) player Ryan O’Callaghan on Tuesday publicly revealed he is gay.
“In high school, football turned into a way to go to college,” he told Outsports. “In college football was a great cover for being gay.”
“And then I saw the NFL mainly as a way to keep hiding my sexuality and stay alive,” the former New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle added.
“No one is going to assume the big football player is gay. It’s why a football team is such a good place to hide.”
O’Callaghan, who finished his NFL career with the Chiefs during the 2011 season, also opened up about his sexual orientation in a video interview released Tuesday by SB Nation.
Sports fans on Tuesday shared O’Callaghan’s coming out story, bringing more attention to LGBT athletes.
O’Callaghan grew up in Redding, CA before eventually playing as a Golden Bear for the University of California, Berkeley.
The former athlete played for the Patriots during the 2006 to 2008 seasons before closing his career with the Chiefs from 2009 to 2011.
O’Callaghan played 51 games in the NFL, starting for 20 of them and recovering 2 fumbles, according to career stats on NFL.com.