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According to USA Today, former NFL defensive end Ryan Russell penned an article in which he revealed that he is bisexual.
— ESPN (@espn) August 29, 2019
Russell, who last played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017, wrote in an article posted Thursday to ESPN.com stating, “have I lied to teammates, coaches, trainers, front-office executives and fans about who I am? Not exactly. But withholding information is a form of deceit. And I want the next part of my career—and life—steep in trust and honesty. During the season you spend more time with your team than your own family; truth and honesty are the cornerstones of a winning culture. My truth is that I’m a talented football player, a damn good writer, a loving son, an overbearing brother, a caring friend, a loyal lover, and a bisexual man.”
“Today, I have two goals: returning to the NFL and living my life openly. I want to live my dream of playing the game I’ve worked my whole life to play and being open about the person I’ve always been.”
Russell also went public with his relationship with his boyfriend, who wrote of the NFL player on his Instagram page, “This man is the top headline on @espn this morning for speaking his truth as a player in the NFL and as my boyfriend. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Russell is hoping to be a pioneer in this new journey as there is almost no LGBTQ+ representation in the NFL.
“Judging from the fact that there isn’t a single openly LGBTQ player in the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball or the NHL, brings me pause,” Russell wrote. “I want to change that – for me, for other athletes who share these common goals, and for the generations of LGBTQ athletes who will come next.”
The 27-year-old was a fifth-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys out of Purdue in 2015 but was later cut after just one season. Russell then went with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played two seasons (2016-2017).
Russell sat out for the 2018 season due to a shoulder injury but is now a free agent looking to get back in the game. While there’s no guarantee that he will be singed he at least wants to make sure any team that does sign him knows exactly who he is.
Click here to check out Russell’s full letter.