Carl Nassib, who broke down barriers as the first openly gay player to play in an NFL regular-season game, has announced his retirement.
Nassib says his new priority will be Rayze, the social media app he developed to help people find ways to make a positive impact in their communities.
“This is a bittersweet moment for me but after seven seasons and just over 100 NFL games I am officially retiring from football to focus on my company Rayze,” Nassib wrote on social media. “It really feels like just yesterday starting out as a walk-on at Penn State. Football has given me more than I ever could have imagined. I can truly hang up my helmet for the last time knowing I gave it everything I had. Growing up I loved how fun football was. I loved the pursuit of perfection. I loved the samll window where every player has to chase their dreams. It makes it all the more exciting if you get there. It was always my dream to play in the NFL, even as a walk-on, and I really feel like the luckiest guy on the planet.”
After not playing at all in his first two years at Penn State, Nassib eventually became a scholarship player, a starter, and then the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year in 2015, a year when he also won the Lott Trophy as college football’s defensive player who best exemplifies strong play on the field and character off the field.
A third-round pick of the Browns in 2016, Nassib played two seasons each in Cleveland, Tampa Bay and Las Vegas before re-signing with Tampa Bay for his final season in 2022.
Nassib came out as openly gay in 2021 and received widespread support from the NFL, the Raiders and his fellow players.