Raiders Release Carl Nassib

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns
Carl Nassib looks on during a game against the Cleveland Browns on December 20.

The Las Vegas Raiders have released out gay defensive end Carl Nassib nearly one year after he became the first active player to come out in the NFL.

Nassib, now a free agent, was let go on March 16 in a cost-cutting move to save the Raiders $8 million, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Nassib’s release came during a busy day of moves for Las Vegas.

Nassib spent two years with the Raiders after completing stints with the Browns and Buccaneers. Last June, just weeks before starting training camp, he came out in an Instagram video and declared he would donate $100,000 to the Trevor Project.

“What’s up, people, I’m Carl Nassib, I’m at my house here in Westchester, Pennsylvania,” Nassib said in the video last year. “I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for awhile now, but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, I got the best family, friends, and job a guy could ask for. I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know I’m not doing this for attention.”

Nassib went on to play in 13 regular season games last year and tallied 21 tackles to go along with 1.5 sacks. He had a career-high 6.5 sacks with the Buccaneers in 2018.

Seven years before Nassib came out, Michael Sam became the first out player to be selected in the NFL draft. He was drafted in the seventh round in 2014 and played in the 2014 pre-season, but never made it to the regular season. He briefly joined Dallas’ practice squad and dabbled in the Canadian Football League for a short period.

Sam’s interrupted career set the stage for Nassib, who made an immediate impact in his first regular season game since coming out when he set up the Raiders’ game-winning score against the Ravens on September 13. Nassib sacked quarterback Lamar Jackson and forced a fumble, which the Raiders recovered.

Nassib faced adversity later in the season when his head coach, Jon Gruden, was forced to resign when it was revealed that he sent homophobic, sexist, and racist emails during his time as an analyst on “Monday Night Football.”

Still, Nassib voiced public praise for the organization as a whole. Just weeks before his release, he posted on Instagram to thank the Raiders for matching his donation to the Trevor Project.

“Enormous thank you to [Raiders’ owner] Mr. Davis,” Nassib said. “He and the Raiders organization have supported me every step of the way and now he has truly outdone himself.”

Nassib is widely expected to sign with another NFL team during the offseason.