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Veteran NFL Defensive Lineman Comes Out As Bisexual

A detail view of an NFL football as the Buffalo Bills play the Washington Redskins at FedExField.

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

A veteran NFL defensive lineman has come out to the world as a bisexual man today.

Ryan Russell, a 27-year-old free agent defensive lineman who's played for the Cowboys, Bucs and Bills, has come out in a story for ESPN.

"Today, I have two goals: returning to the NFL, and living my life openly. 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.

Those two objectives shouldn't be in conflict. But judging from the fact that there isn't a single openly LGBTQ player in the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball or the NHL, brings me pause. 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," he wrote for ESPN.

Russell, 27, was a fifth-round pick out of Purdue in the 2015 NFL Draft.

The former Big Ten standout played for the Cowboys from 2015-16. He then played for the Bucs from 2016-17. He spent the 2018 season on the Buffalo Bills practice squad.

Russell, a 6-foot-5 defensive lineman, has 21 career tackles to go along with three sacks. He's hoping to get back into the league, but says he doesn't want to be a social media star.

"I feel as though this could be a step toward that future. For myself, I'm not looking to be a symbol or media star. I just want to play ball for a team that knows me off the field and values me on it. I want to encourage teammates to be the same people they have always been. I want us to remain as close as family. I want to be able to dedicate my life to football without feeling like I can't dedicate my life to truth as well," he writes.

You can read his full profile here.