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Thursday, October 24
Updated: October 30, 8:06 PM ET
Tuaolo says he contemplated suicide news services

Esera Tuaolo, who played nine years in the NFL as a defensive lineman, will reveal he is gay in an interview to be shown Tuesday on HBO's "Real Sports" and in the upcoming issue of ESPN The Magazine.

Esera Tuaolo
Tuaolo, who played for five NFL teams, said a major reason for his early retirement in 1999 was the difficulty and frustration that came with keeping his sexual orientation a secret.

"They didn't know who Esera Tuaolo is," he said in the interview with HBO. "What they saw was an actor."

Tuaolo, 34, said players routinely told gay jokes in the locker room.

"They made me go further and further into depression, further and further into shame," he said.

In a transcript and tape of the HBO show obtained by The New York Post, Tuaolo discusses the depth of his depression, saying it reached a point to where he thought about suicide.

"When I'm driving like over a 100 (mph), maybe I could just like turn that wheel, just turn that wheel so I could just end it all," Tuaolo said in the interview.

Tuaolo, a native of Hawaii, played at Oregon State before being drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1991 (35th pick overall). He also played for the Panthers, Vikings and Jaguars, and for the Falcons, the team he was with in Super Bowl XXXIII.

The "Real Sports" segment also features ESPN's Sterling Sharpe, a former teammate of Tuaolo's with the Packers.

When Sharpe was asked what would have happened if Tuaolo came out while he was still playing in the NFL, Sharpe said: "He would have been eaten alive and he would have been hated for it."

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