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Former NFL OL Ryan O'Callaghan comes out at as gay

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Former Patriots and Chiefs offensive lineman Ryan O'Callaghan thought the part of his life he was hiding would eventually lead to his downfall.

Thankfully, his story has a positive ending.

O'Callaghan, who has been out of the league since 2011, revealed to the general public on Tuesday that he is gay via a tremendous article about his early life and struggles done by Cyd Zeigler of Outsports.com.

O'Callaghan explained in the piece that he used football as a way to shield everyone he knew from the fact that he was gay. O'Callaghan said he never endured any homophobia in the league, but he knew his status as a football player could only hide his sexuality for so long. Battling eventual pain killer addiction and serious thoughts of suicide after injuries forced him away from the playing field, the support of Kansas City's training staff and then-general manager Scott Pioli helped put him on a path to self-acceptance -- but only after O'Callaghan did the heavy emotional lifting himself.

O'Callaghan was a fifth-round pick of the New England Patriots back in 2006. He started six games during his rookie year, appearing in 51 games overall in four NFL seasons.

O'Callaghan was blunt with himself. As the first line of the article says, (His) plan was always to play football then, when his career was over, kill himself. An inability to confront life as a gay man after the sport was daunting. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury that cost him a roster spot in New England eventually did the same in Kansas City and sprang him into uncertainty shortly after in 2011.

The piece is well worth your time, charting an unimaginable journey for a former collegiate standout who could end up serving as a ray of hope for others struggling to be themselves.

"It's not always easy being honest, but I can tell you it's much easier and more enjoyable being yourself and not living a lie," O'Callaghan told the site.

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