Former Patriots tackle Ryan O’Callaghan has come out as gay, according to Outsports.com.
O’Callaghan, who played for the Patriots in 2006 and 2007, says he realized he was in gay in junior high school, but kept it a secret from the public until now.
"In high school, football turned into a way to go to college," O'Callaghan explained. "In college football was a great cover for being gay. And then I saw the NFL mainly as a way to keep hiding my sexuality and stay alive."
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O’Callaghan continued his football career with the Kansas City Chiefs, until his retirement following the 2011 season.
At that point, O’Callaghan says he was spending $400 a day to feed his addiction to painkillers and contemplating suicide.
"I was abusing painkillers, no question," O'Callaghan said matter-of-factly. "It helped with the pain of the injuries, and with the pain of being gay. I just didn't worry about being gay when I took the Vicodin. I just didn't worry."
In 2011 O'Callaghan sought help from a drug counselor associated with the Chiefs, in whom he confided he was gay. O'Callaghan also told Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli that he was gay shortly thereafter.
Now that O'Callaghan has shared his story, he hopes that it will be an inspiration to others.
"As long as there are people killing themselves because they are gay, there is a reason for people like me to share my story and try to help," O'Callaghan said.
SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.