Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Ryan Russell opened up about his sexuality.
Russell, 27, played in the NFL for three years before becoming a free agent due to a shoulder injury, according to a report published Thursday by ESPN. Now, he’s ready to return to the field, but this time as his “full self.”
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A Letter to My Depression Hey, I haven’t seen you for awhile… Which means you’re coming back soon. I hope you’ve enjoyed our time apart As much as I have. I think about you all the time though And it scares me how I’ve grown Accustomed to having you in my life. I’ve been in love since you’ve gone But I know only you and I will last Forever. Yoga and meditation, Yes that’s a new thing. Maybe I’ll find the time for it When you’re here. I know you can be pretty demanding but please. I’ve been writing a lot also. Different stuff than before About life, love, and family. Maybe that will ease you someday. I don’t know if you can read at all. I read in the gardens sometime, Everything grows when you go missing. I grow before you come to shrivel me up. Food actually taste good When I can keep it down. Why do you smell of stale tequila And rotting meat? Why do you leave just to Comeback? Why are you the only one That comes back? Ok well, I’ll see you soon. Love, R.K. Russell P.S. Don’t bring the razor blades this time. The scars are getting harder and harder to hide.
Russell is bisexual and his goal is to be more open about his sexuality while playing in the NFL.
“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,” the former Buccaneers teammate wrote in his op-ed. (RELATED: The Illinois Fighting Illini Have The Most NFL Coaching Experience In All Of College Football)
Russell claimed there isn’t a single open LGBTQ player in the four major sports industries in America.
“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,” Russell wrote.
Russell admitted he believes that to be a good teammate, you have to be able to be your “full self.”
“You know the man next to you as well as you know yourself and you, in turn, trust him irrevocably,” he said. “If you aren’t fully present and authentic in the training facility, you simply can’t be a standout teammate.”
The former Purdue player said he isn’t looking to be a media star.
“For myself, I’m not looking to be a symbol or media star,” Russell said. “I just want to play ball for a team that knows me off the field and values me on it.”