NFL’er likes to huddle ‘cuz it rhymes with cuddle.’

Got a muddled mind; calls it “My truth.”

Ryan Russell is a three-year NFL veteran. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 2015 after a successful college career at Purdue. He played one season with the Cowboys and two for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He started seven games for the Bucs in 2017.

In early August, Russell met with an NFL team that was interested in signing him as a free agent for the upcoming season. This was a big moment for him because playing football again in the NFL is his dream. The team invited him to meet with their front office and members of their coaching staff because, even though he missed all of the 2018 season after suffering a shoulder injury in 2017,  he  “feels the organization believes I have the skills and character to contribute to their success.  My performance in the interviews and workouts was first-rate. Coaches saw that I still have the kind of speed and agility to pressure quarterbacks that prompted the Dallas Cowboys to choose me in the fifth round of the 2015 draft and enjoy two successful seasons in Tampa Bay.”  The team did not ultimately offer him a contract.

But for all the encouraging feelings about the visit, Russell has one strong regret: “This is the last time I will ever interview for a job as anything other than my full self. Out of love, admiration and respect, I want the next team to sign me valuing me for what I do and knowing who I truly am.  My truth is that I’m a talented football player, a damn good writer, a loving son, an overbearing brother, a caring friend, a loyal lover, and a bisexual man.”

Russell wants to change the fact that there isn’t a single openly LGBTQ player in the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball or the NHL “for the generations of LGBTQ athletes who will come next.”  And he’s not just talking about the cheerleaders either.  Russell added, “and there are plenty of QB’s that I’d like to sack.”

Growing up, Russell says he “always felt as though my existence slipped between the cracks of two worlds.”  And, apparently, Ryan Russell wouldn’t have it any other way.