Carl Nassib, First Openly Gay Player in NFL, Announces Retirement: 'I'm Ready to Move On'

Carl Nassib Announces His Retirement
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The athlete made history in 2021 as the first openly gay active NFL player.

Carl Nassib, who made history in 2021 when he became the first openly gay active player in the NFL, announced his retirement Wednesday.

Nassib told CBS Mornings that while it wasn't an easy choice, he felt it was time to move on to the next chapter.

"Football has been something I've been doing since I was eight, and I just felt like I'm very proud of my career. I've played a lot of games, played a lot of football, and I'm ready to move on to the next chapter," Nassib said.

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Nassib became a free agent last year and had not signed to a team. Throughout his career, the linebacker has played for the Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Raiders and was a captain of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Despite saying he's feeling physically and mentally fit, Nassib said he chose to retire to focus on his company, Rayze, which he founded just before the last NFL season. The app enables users to give back to causes they are passionate about.

"I feel like Rayze is kind of what I was meant to do," he said.

Nassib, who began his football journey as a walk-on at Penn State, came out openly in 2021. He said that day, along with announcing his retirement, was among the top five most important moments of his life.

"It's sad. I feel like someone's dying. Like I feel like this whole big part of my life is over, but now I get to move on to this next big beautiful chapter," Nassib said.

The 30-year-old said he will continue working with the NFL on philanthropy and diversity and inclusion efforts. He praised the NFL for its efforts, including matching his financial donations to the suicide prevention charity The Trevor Project, and the league's stand against hate. He said he hopes the NFL continues to "set the standard for other sports leagues."

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Nassib said he can "absolutely" see a future with more openly gay players in the NFL, and it is his hope that more players come out in their own time.

"Everybody's on their own journey. I've never once wanted to accelerate anybody's process. It is such a personal and really beautiful thing. And I think that people can, you know, cherish those moments at their pace. And if you ever need somebody to talk to, I'm here for you," he said.

As Nassib looks ahead to life beyond football, he is excited about attending a Penn State football game this Saturday, his first time as a spectator.

This story was originally published by CBS News on Sept. 6, 2023 at 10:12 a.m. E.T.