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Former Patriots Tackle O’Callaghan Comes Out as Gay

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

 

Former New England Patriots tackle Ryan O’Callaghan has come out as gay in an article on Outsports. 

The article reveals that O’Callaghan planned to commit suicide at the end of his NFL career before then Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli stepped in. 

"This story has been a long time coming. I hope I'm able to help other gay people in sports, as some people were there to help me when I needed it most. Proud to be a part of this community," O'Callaghan said on his Facebook page. 

O’Callaghan With the Patriots 

O’Callaghan was drafted by the Patriots in the 5th round of the 2006 NFL Draft out of California-Berkeley. 

In two years with New England, he played in 26 games and started seven of them. His only start during the 2007 season was in week 17 against the New York Giants. 

"All you are there to do is whatever it takes to win. Distractions were not allowed. Everyone on the team had a job, knew their job and really focused on doing that. As little comfort as it did bring, it did help,” O’Callaghan told Outsports about his time in New England. 

He did not play in another game for the Patriots after his first two seasons. A left shoulder injury during the 2008 preseason put him on injured reserved. He was then released just days before the start of the 2009 season. 

O’Callaghan With the Chiefs 

Following his time with the Patriots, O’Callaghan moved on to the Chiefs where he played till 2011. Then he reinjured his shoulder in training camp. 

He was put on injured reserved and never played another snap in the NFL. He has been on permanent disability since. 

Post Career 

When his career was over, the story reveals that O’Callaghan started using painkillers in an effort to kill himself. O'Callaghan estimated that he was spending $400 a month on painkillers in 2011, and that he built a cabin outside of Kansas City where he planned to commit suicide. 

The story reveals that O’Callaghan came out to a therapist while trying to get rid of his drug addiction, and then shortly after came out to Pioli. 

According to the Outsports story, the exchange between O'Callaghan and Pioli is as follows: 

 

"After a hug and some small talk, O’Callaghan turned serious. He told Pioli he had been visiting with Wilson and had gotten "clean." It was good news to Pioli.

"I’ve got something else I’ve got to tell you," O’Callaghan said. At this point, he was fighting back tears. Pioli’s mind raced, wondering if his player had harmed or killed someone.

"I’m gay," O’Callaghan said.

His private announcement was met with immediate support from the GM. Then:

"So what’s the problem you wanted to talk me about?" Pioli asked.

O’Callaghan looked at him, bewildered, 27 years of fear, anxiety and self-loathing meeting Pioli’s stare.

"Scott," O’Callaghan said, "I’m… gay."

Pioli acknowledged that and asked again if O’Callaghan had done something wrong.

"People like me are supposed to react a certain way, I guess," Pioli told Outsports. "I wasn’t minimizing what he was telling me, but I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. He built this up and built this up to the point where he said he was nearly suicidal. What Ryan didn’t know is how many gay people I’ve had in my life."

O’Callaghan also didn’t know that, according to Pioli, he wasn’t the first gay NFL player whom his GM had counseled.”

 

O’Callaghan now lives in his hometown of Redding, California. 

 

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