Carl Nassib, the only active player in the NFL to come out as gay, has signed a new one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This will mark Nassib’s return to Tampa Bay where he played for two seasons before moving the Las Vegas Raiders.
Buccaneers reached agreement on a one-year deal with former Raiders’ DE Carl Nassib, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 15, 2022
Nassib made history when he posted a video message to his social media sharing with the world that he’s gay. The short clip came during Pride Month in 2021.
Getting right to the point, Nassib said in an uncluttered and direct manner, “I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now but finally feel comfortable getting it off my chest.” In the message, he also committed to donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, one of the largest organizations in the country to offer support and outreach to LGBTQ+ youth.
Not only did the NFL quickly step up to match Nassib’s contribution, but the league also aired an LGBTQ-inclusive commercial, “Football is Gay.”
With all eyes on the first out active player in the NFL, Nassib showed up in fine form in the first game of the 2021. In overtime, Nassib forced a fumble which was quickly converted into a game-winning touchdown. Following the game, Nassib noted the historic nature of the moment.
“Lot of firsts today,” Nassib said during a press conference following the game. “No one blinked. It was awesome. It was a great team win, for sure.”
This past Spring, Nassib was released by the Raiders in a salary cap move. With his release, the Raiders were able to save his $7.75 million base salary. At the time of his release, many experts predicted Nassib wouldn’t have a difficult time finding a new team. And clearly, they were right. It looks like you can be gay and play in the NFL.
In his previous stint with the Bucs, Nassib started 17 of 29 games registering 12.5 sacks, 20 tackles for a loss, 63 combined tackles, three forced fumbles, two passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. During the past two NFL seasons with the Raiders, he started five of 17 games and recorded four sacks, eight tackles for a loss, 33 combined tackles, five passes defensed, an interception and a forced fumble.
Nassib being signed by the Bucs AFTER coming out sends a powerful message: The NFL can and will accept gay players.
And that includes teams like the Bucs in Super Bowl contention.
Huge. Huge. Huge.https://t.co/rqdOpKUfSi
— Cyd Zeigler (@CydZeigler) August 15, 2022
Returning to Tampa, Nassib will reunite with first-year Bucs coach Todd Bowles. During Nassib’s first stint with the Buccaneers, Bowles was working as defensive coordinator under Bruce Arians in 2019. ESPN writes, “Bowles previously has given high praise to Nassib for his work ethic, attitude, intelligence and passion for football.”
“Carls’ tough in the run,” Bowles said at a press conference Tuesday. “When he was here with us, he’s a very good pass rusher on the outside and he can also play inside on some nickel situations. 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, so we look forward to him coming here.”
This news comes just days after professional baseball player Solomon Bates signed with the Sioux City Explorers two days after coming out.
In less than a week, two different out professional athletes have signed new contracts with different teams in different leagues. Looks like progress to me.
— Outsports (@outsports) August 12, 2022