While many are awaiting the first openly gay NFL player, the league may have already had a few.
Almost as importantly, their teammates didn't care.
The 1993 Oilers won the AFC Central with a 12-4 record but lost at home in the divisional round 28-20 to the Kansas City Chiefs, an upset sealed by a fourth-quarter touchdown run by Marcus Allen.
Pro Bowl linebacker Lamar Lathon, a member of that '93 Oilers team, said the following regarding his gay teammates, per Smith:
Listen, those guys that we’re talking about were unbelievable teammates. And if you wanted to go to war with someone, you would get those guys first. Because I have never seen tougher guys than those guys.
And everybody in the locker room, the consensus knew or had an idea that things were not exactly right. But guess what? When they strapped the pads on and got on the field, man, we were going to war with these guys because they were unbelievable.
Ironically, as Smith pointed out, the NFL Network recently aired a documentary that labeled the '93 Oilers as the most dysfunctional team of all time.
Smith wrote this on that dubious label: "Players supported that general theme during interviews with the Chronicle. But they also insisted the ’93 Oilers were much more of an inclusive family than most have ever given them credit for."
Team member Cris Dishman had this to say regarding certain players, also via Smith: “Everybody knew certain guys (were gay). Everybody speculated and people used to see these two guys come in by themselves. They’d leave at lunchtime and then come back."
This report comes after Bleacher Report's own Mike Freeman wrote a column in late November which discussed how the NFL nearly had its first openly gay player in 2013, before plans for him to be signed by a team fell apart.
A bit of information worth noting: Although members of the '93 Oilers apparently knew of their gay teammates, Smith's report does not indicate that other NFL players knew, and obviously, they were not openly gay to the public or media.
However, it's encouraging that members of the '93 Oilers who spoke with Smith made it clear that the gay players weren't treated differently.
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