Nassib explained how he would now concentrate on Rayze, a mobile app that seeks to harness the power of social media for philanthropy and good causes.
“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,” read Nassib’s statement.
“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 small 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.”
It was via the same Instagram account that Nassib came out publicly in June 2021. In that video post, he also announced he was making a donation of $100,000 to the Trevor Project, the nonprofit organization that helps LGBTQ youth in crisis.
He was with the Raiders at the time, and in his NFL history-making first appearance as an out gay player three months later, he forced a game-winning fumble against the Baltimore Ravens.
Nassib had already given every indication during the close season that he would be moving on from the NFL but had not spoken publicly about his plans until now.
In his statement, he thanked his agent Brian Ayrault, Bucs GM Jason Licht and assistant GM John Spytek, as well as “all my coaches, teammates, trainers and staff throughout the years”.
He added: “I am also looking forward to working alongside the NFL on DEI and exciting philanthropic efforts in the future.”
Nassib spoke more about this new role in an interview with PEOPLE, noting how the decision to hang up his cleats was “not easy.”
He said his exact job title with the NFL was still to be confirmed but added: “I think that I can provide a very rare and specific view of how life is for an out gay player, and I think that there are some amazing opportunities that I can also learn.”
DL Carl Nassib announces his retirement from the NFL after a 7-year career. He was the first openly gay active player in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/tdirCw2tYw— NFL (@NFL) September 6, 2023
As for working with the League, he added: “Maintaining that relationship shows that the NFL is continuing to support me.
“They’ve supported me so much over the last two years, and I really couldn’t have done it without that support.”
The NFL and the Raiders each matched Nassib’s original donation to the Trevor Project two years ago, while in 2022, he made another pledge to the charity and again wore their logo for the annual ‘My Cause My Cleats’ initiative.
In January 2023, he confirmed his relationship with Danish boyfriend Soren Dahl, who represented his country in swimming at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Dahl shared Nassib’s retirement post to his own Insta story with the caption “So proud of you!” accompanied by heart emojis.
An inspiring role model and source of light for so many LGBTQ young people, Carl Nassib will always be a champ in our hearts— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) September 6, 2023
Carl, we are so grateful for your ongoing commitment to LGBTQ youth suicide prevention. Can't wait to keep marching with you in your next chapter! https://t.co/iML3fcOTW5 pic.twitter.com/zaa1Wqx9kF
On Wednesday, Nassib was a guest on CBS Mornings and was asked by host Gayle King about the difference in his feelings between the day he came out and today.
“It really takes a person to say, change your perspective,” he said. “When I was coming out, it just took a couple of people to be like, this shouldn’t be a dreadful experience, this should be a celebration.
“I’m trying to keep the same in my mind for this. It’s sad — I feel like someone’s dying and this whole big part of my life is over — but now I get to move on to the next beautiful chapter.”
When asked by Tony Dokoupil if he expected more NFL players to come out publicly, Nassib replied: “Sure, absolutely.”
Meanwhile, the Bucs tweeted “Congrats on retirement, Carl!” while in the comments on Nassib’s Insta post, out gay Olympian Adam Rippon wrote: “HUGE CONGRATS. Thank you for everything you’ve done for all LGBTQ athletes. Can’t wait to see all the amazing things you do next!!! CHEERS TO YOU”
Another former Tampa Bay player, RK Russell — who came out publicly as bisexual in 2019 — also commented: “Love you bro! The next chapter will be the best one yet!”
Outsports wishes Nassib every future success and thanks him for his representation and the ongoing assistance his visibility will provide for LGBTQ people at all levels of football.