Sport: Raiders' Carl Nassib makes history and has huge play in his first game since publicly coming out

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LAS VEGAS – Carl Nassib, a defensive end for the Las Vegas Raiders, has played 74 games in the NFL and said he tries to remember them all.

“And I won’t forget this one,’’ he said Monday night.

It was Nassib’s first regular-season game since becoming the NFL's first active, openly gay player – and he had a starring role.

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With the Raiders and Baltimore Ravens battling it out in overtime on "Monday Night Football," Nassib caused a fumble – with a strip-sack of Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson -- that set up the Raiders’ game-winning touchdown in a thrilling, 33-27 victory.

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Nassib, 28, publicly came out on June 21.

“I’m happy we got the win on the day I kind of made a little bit of history, which was really, really nice to do,’’ said Nassib. “I had a lot of people come before me in the LGBTQ community that helped me get to where I am, and I’m super thankful for that.’’

Nassib is a backup and was needed more than ever for two reasons: Two other defensive ends suited up because two others were out with injury, and Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP, is one of the best and most elusive runners in the league.

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Jackson was more than solid on Monday, passing for 235 yards and rushing for 86. But with Nassib helping apply pressure, the Ravens superstar wasn’t good enough to propel his team past the Raiders. Especially after Nassib knocked the ball loose while taking down Jackson in the backfield.

a baseball player wearing a helmet: Raiders DE Carl Nassib forced a key fumble in overtime Monday. © Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports Raiders DE Carl Nassib forced a key fumble in overtime Monday.

Raiders defensive tackle Darius Philon recovered the fumble with 4:31 left in overtime at the Ravens' 27-yard line. Two plays later, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw a 31-yard strike to Zay Jones for the game-winning touchdown. Nassib joined the wild celebration, and not long after drew praise from Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

“That was big,’’ Gruden said of Nassib’s forced fumble. “He made us a big play at the end of the game.’’

Chances are, Nassib will have opportunities to make others.

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“He’s had a great training camp, and we’re going to need him here obviously as we move forward,’’ Gruden said.

Nassib seems to understand what will help make his subsequent games as easy to remember as the last 74.

“Getting turnovers is the make-or-break of a good defense,’’ he said. “Hopefully, I can get the ball out in really clutch situations.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Raiders' Carl Nassib makes history and has huge play in his first game since publicly coming out

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