Jeff Rohrer, a former linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, has come out as gay, and announced he plans to marry his partner this weekend.
"I feel revived," Jeff Rohrer said. "Like I'm born again." https://t.co/JEppN4pemQ— HuffPost (@HuffPost)1542296713.0
Rohrer, who played for the NFL from 1982 to 1989, announced earlier this week his marriage to skincare magnate Joshua Ross. After they are wed, Jeff will be the first NFL player to be in a same-sex relationship.
Rohrer's six seasons (his final was spent sidelined with an injury) with the Cowboys saw him starting 41 games, dishing out 7.5 sacks, and making four fumble recoveries. Since his football days, Rohrer has become an executive producer/partner for a commercial production company.
People have been responding positively.
@nytimes Good for him I know it must be tough coming out late in life— TshaunX ✊🏾💯🦍🐻 🌈 (@TshaunX ✊🏾💯🦍🐻 🌈)1542258477.0
@CNN Yaaaaaaay. 😊💚👍— Kevin (@Kevin)1542303593.0
In an interview with TIME, Rohrer said,
"If I had told the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980s that I was gay, I would have been cut immediately. It was a different world back then, people didn't want to hear that."
But people are more welcoming now.
"I've given at least five people heart attacks with this news. But for the most part, many of my closest friends, including some of my former teammates with the Cowboys, could not have been more happy and supportive."
Everyone is congratulating their impending nuptials.
@HuffPost You go, bro! Much happiness to you both!— witchmoon13 (@witchmoon13)1542321189.0
@nytimes Congratulations to them both— Robert (@Robert)1542224791.0
@nytimes Congratulations to the former Cowboy on his impending marriage. I hope more male professional athletes wi… https://t.co/vfhWTec3A4— Caroline Mala Corbin (@Caroline Mala Corbin)1542225019.0
@HuffPost Sounds like congrats are in order! Wish you both much happiness!!!— christie (@christie)1542298787.0
This has absolutely warmed my heart. As a kid who grew up in 1980’s Texas at the height of Rohrer’s NFL career (& v… https://t.co/gqg0CBWrLD— Laura Brady (@Laura Brady)1542255408.0
@CNN Congratulations to both of them. #Love🌹— Fiona Patterson (@Fiona Patterson)1542300897.0
@nytimes And good on him. I wish them both great joy.— David Jobling (@David Jobling)1542224856.0
@CNN Mazel tov!— Demassie Hill (@Demassie Hill)1542304922.0
There were some who tried to downplay this great news, but they were quickly shot down.
@CNN For everyone saying “who cares”, newsflash, plenty of people do it’s called representation. Considering the fa… https://t.co/azhYltNl16— Charlie Hobbs (@Charlie Hobbs)1542315559.0
Rohrer met Joshua at a bar in West Hollywood, and the two have been dating since. Even though he was still living with his ex-wife at the time, Rohrer knew he wanted to see Ross. This is a joyous time for a man who described hiding his feelings as living like the Wolfman.
"My experience is that people are born gay, and anyone who wants to dispute that I'd be happy to have a conversation with them, including Mike Pence. I'd love to sit down with him."
While Rohrer will be the first former NFL player to marry a same sex partner, he is not the first to come out of the closet. Seven other players, including Michael Sam and Esera Tuaolo, have come out of the closet since their time with the NFL. As of this writing, there's no recorded case of an out current NFL player.
Rohrer and Ross will be married this Sunday at a ceremony in Southern California.