Jeff Rohrer — Retired Dallas Cowboys Linebacker — Comes Out as Gay, Reveals He's Getting Married
Retired NFL linebacker Jeff Rohrer is gay and set to become the first former or current NFL player in a same-sex marriage, he revealed in a new interview published on Wednesday.
In the New York Times story, Rohrer, 59, opened up about his sexuality for the first time.
“I’m sure there’s going to be some people out there who have a negative reaction to this,” Rohrer told the outlet, adding, “and I’m fine with it.”
Born and raised in Manhattan Beach, California, Rohrer played football in high school then at Yale University. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys after college and played for the Texas team from 1982 to 1989. Following his exit from the NFL, Rohrer pursued his passion for visual art and currently works in media.
Said Rohrer, “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.”
In fact, it was football, he says, that kept him for coming out for so long.
He told the Times, “People are born gay, as I was, though being gay was just something that had no place during the course of my football life.”
“But when I got divorced, I said the hell with it, I’m going to do what I’ve always wanted to do,” he added to the outlet. “Then I found Josh, and began to openly live the life I was born to live.
Rohrer — who was previously married to a woman and has two teen children — currently lives in Los Angeles with his now-fiancé, Joshua Ross, celebrity aesthetician and founder of SkinLab.
The pair met back in May 2015, according to the Times, when Rohrer was still “completely in the closet.” He added, “And if not for Josh, I’d still be in there.”
Their romance began quickly — though Ross didn’t know for months that his boyfriend was a former NFL star — with Ross sharing that he was attracted to Rohrer’s “unselfishness.”
Ross told the outlet, “I guess that came from being a husband and a father, and always making sure his family came first.”
According to Rohrer, the wedding news will surprise many. In fact, he told the Times that one guest sent back his invite because he thought it was a joke.
“I’ve given at least five people heart attacks with this news,” he said. “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.”
Among the supportive? Former NFL Senior Vice President of Communications Greg Aiello, who told the Times that “People who really know Jeff will be happy for him, and proud of him for living his truth.”
The couple will marry in front of 150 guests this coming Sunday, in a ceremony at Los Angeles’ Wattles Mansion Gardens, according to the Times. The grooms will both wear midnight blue tuxedos by Salvatore Ferragamo.
Guests will enjoy a full raw bar, among other menu items, and close the evening with a wedding cake by Sweet Lady Jane.
Follow Rohrer and Ross’s love story on Instagram: @joshuaandjeffrey.