Ryan Russell is the first openly LGBTQ player in the NFL, and the only male athlete in the four major professional sports leagues to self-identify as LGBTQ.
A defensive end, Russell played football for Purdue University, the Dallas Cowboys (2015) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2016-17). He is currently a free agent, and plays off-season and on the practice squad of the Buffalo Bills.
Russell is also a writer and published poet. His first book of poetry, "Prison or Passion" (2019), captures the struggles of being a young boy without a father, and the strength that comes from building one’s own definition of manhood.
"Today, I have two goals: returning to the NFL, and living my life openly. I want to live my dream of playing the game I've worked my whole life to play, and being open about the person I've always been." -- Ryan Russell