When former Patriots offensive lineman Ryan O’Callaghan came out as gay in 2017, he received support from his old team. One person whose support made a particular impression was Robert Kraft.
“What you did took a lot of courage,” Kraft told O’Callaghan. “I’m so proud of you.”
In a new book due out in September, O’Callaghan discusses his life story, including the treatment he received from former teammates after coming out. The book, “My Life on the Line: How the NFL Damn Near Killed Me, and Ended up Saving My Life,” includes a moment when O’Callaghan was invited to a Patriots ring ceremony in 2017.
At the event, he was invited into Kraft’s office.
“Spending a few minutes privately with Mr. Kraft in his office is surreal,” O’Callaghan wrote in his book. “It’s just him and me, with a couple hundred people outside his office door.”
“I never got that treatment when I was on his payroll,” O’Callaghan continued. “For [Kraft], who opens up to me about a gay friend, I am the most important person in the world in those few moments. Given where I have been in the previous dozen years, he is equally the most important person in the world for me right then and there.”
O’Callaghan played for the Patriots from 2006-2008, retiring from the NFL in 2011. In his book, he chronicled how he struggled and contemplated suicide once he was done with football. He credited — among other people — former Patriots general manager Scott Pioli for helping to save him.
Follow Hayden Bird on Twitter @haydenhbird.