Carl Nassib, NFL’s first openly gay active player, rejoins Bucs – The Washington Post

Carl Nassib, NFL's first openly gay active player, rejoins Bucs - The Washington Post

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Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles appeared to confirm multiple reports that Tampa Bay signed Carl Nassib, a free agent defensive end who is the NFL’s first openly gay active player.

“We’re looking forward to him coming here,” Bowles said of Nassib to reporters on Tuesday.

Nassib previously played for the Buccaneers in 2018 and 2019. He then signed in free agency with the Las Vegas Raiders and was a member of that organization in June 2021, when he made history by going out.

“I’m a pretty private person,” Nassib said at the time in a video he shared online, “so I hope you know I’m really not doing this for attention. I just think representation and visibility are so important.”

Several NFL players greeted him at the time, as did some league officials and lawyers for LGBTQ issues. In a message to Nassib and Kumi Yokoyama, a National Women’s Soccer League player who came out as a transgender man, President Biden wrote: “I am so proud of your courage. Because of you, countless children around the world see themselves in a new light today.”

Another defensive end, Michael Sam, blazed a trail by going out before the 2014 NFL draft. He was later selected in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams but released before the start of the season and never played a regular season snap in the NFL. Sam then became the first openly gay player in the Canadian Football League when he took the field in August 2015 for the Montreal Alouettes.

Nassib said earlier this summer that he had some trepidation about taking the step of sharing his video last year.

“I stared at the phone for, like, an hour just looking at it, trying to get myself pumped up,” said the 29-year-old Pennsylvania native “Good Morning America” correspondent Michael Strahan, a former NFL star, in July. “The last thing I said was, ‘You know what – for the kids.’ And I pressed after.”

Nassib added that, having come out to his friends and family years before, he decided to go public last year to “own the story and make sure I did it on my terms.”

When Nassib made those comments last month, he was released of the raiders, following a two-year stint that coincided with a turbulent period for Las Vegas. Head coach Jon Gruden withdrew in October 2021 following the revelation of emails he sent that included racist, misogynistic and homophobic language.

In the wake of the Gruden scandal, Nassib was excused from team activities to take a personal day.

“He just said he’s got a lot to work on,” then-general manager Mike Mayock said of Nassib at the time. “There is a lot that has happened in the last few days. And, of course, we support that.”

Gruden was replaced on an interim basis by Rich Bisaccia before Josh McDaniels was hired in January to be the new head coach of the team. At the same time, the Raiders brought in a new general manager, Dave Ziegler, after they fired Mayock earlier in the month.

Now Nassib is set to reunite with General Manager Jason Licht, who has held that position for the Buccaneers since 2014, and Bowles, who was the team’s defensive coordinator for three years prior. replacing former head coach Bruce Arians in march

After beginning his NFL journey with the Cleveland Browns, with whom he spent two seasons, Nassib enjoyed some of his most productive moments with the Buccaneers. From his 22 career sacks, 12.5 came in a Tampa Bay uniform, as did 25 of his 53 quarterback hits.

Bowles praised Nassib on Tuesday as a tough run defender who can also be deployed in different ways in the coach’s scheme.

“He’s a very good passer on the outside, and he can also play inside in some nickel situations,” Bowles told reporters. “He has a lot of versatility, he brings a lot of energy, brings a lot of toughness and he understands the system. He was comfortable in it [in his previous stint].”

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