Raiders' Carl Nassib Says Coming out as Gay Is a 'Great Weight' off His Shoulders

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 6, 2021

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 15: Carl Nassib #94 of the Las Vegas Raiders flexes while smiling during warmups before a game against the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib said Friday his mental health has improved since he became the first active NFL player to publicly come out as gay.

Nassib, who made the announcement on Instagram in June, noted he's been welcomed back to the Raiders with open arms since the start of training camp.

"It has been great. I knew it was going to be good. I had zero stress about that, absolutely no worries about it," he told reporters. "We've got a great locker room, great teammates. I've been met with nothing but love and support. It has been incredible. Football players get a bad wrap. But we're humble, hard-working, accepting people. This was a great example of that."

The 28-year-old Penn State product explained his family and friends have known he's gay for quite some time, but making it public has helped him feel more comfortable in a professional setting.

"It was definitely stressful growing up and being in the closet and doing all that," Nassib said. "It has been a great weight off my shoulders. I've been out to my family and friends to this point for years, so it has been good to not have to lie when I come to work every day. It has been good."

He added the positive reaction has been "incredible."

Nassib, a 2016 third-round pick, is entering his sixth NFL season and second with the Raiders. He previously spent two years apiece with the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Pennsylvania native has recorded 142 total tackles, 20.5 sacks, 16 passes defended, three forced fumbles and an interception across 73 career games. He tallied 2.5 sacks in 14 contests for Las Vegas last season.

Nassib is competing with Malcolm Koonce and Maxx Crosby for a backup role behind the Raiders' projected starters at defensive end, Clelin Ferrell and Yannick Ngakoue.