The former New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Ryan OCallaghan has come as gay
The former New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Ryan OCallaghan has come out as gay.
The 33-year-old, who retired in 2011, told his story to Outsports in an interview published on Tuesday. OCallaghan says he grew up in a conservative town and realized he was gay as a teenager. He described how his career, through high school and then into college and the NFL, was partly used to hide his sexuality.
No one is going to assume the big football player is gay, said OCallaghan, who was listed as 6ft 7in and 330lbs during his NFL career. Its why a football team is such a good place to hide.
OCallaghans career was ended by injuries that still affect him today, and he says he planned to kill himself. I was abusing painkillers, no question, he said. It helped with the pain of the injuries, and with the pain of being gay. I just didnt worry about being gay when I took the Vicodin. I just didnt worry … I started spending all my money to put myself in a position where it would be impossible, or at least extremely difficult, to back out of killing myself.
OCallaghan was helped by the support of staff at the Chiefs, including psychologist Susan Wilson and general manager Scott Pioli. All I had ever done was think how bad the reaction would be, OCallaghan said. It takes a lot more strength to be honest with yourself than it does to lie. It took a while to build up that strength to even tell [Wilson]. You have to build up trust with someone. Just telling her was like a huge weight off my shoulders.
OCallaghan said that he had also come out to the Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, whom he played alongside at college. He said the Pro Bowlers reaction had been positive.