Jeff Rohrer, who played for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980s, is set to marry his partner on Sunday, according to Outsports and the New York Times. He will become the first known NFL player — former or current — to enter a same-sex marriage.
“If I had told the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980s that I was gay, I would have been cut immediately,” Rohrer, now a commercial producer in Los Angeles, said in an interview with the Times. “It was a different world back then, people didn’t want to hear that.”
Rohrer, who turns 60 on Christmas Day, will tie the knot with Joshua Ross in California. The couple has been together for more than two years. This will be Rohrer’s second marriage. His first, from which he has two teenage children, ended in divorce. This is the first marriage for Ross.
“I’ve given at least five people heart attacks with this news,” Rohrer said to the Times. “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.”
After growing up in Inglewood and later attending Yale, Rohrer was selected by the Cowboys in the second round (and was the 53rd overall pick) of the 1982 NFL draft. He played linebacker in 83 games for the team, coached by Tom Landry, in six seasons. His teammates included Tony Dorsett, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Randy White.
For years, Rohrer kept his sexual orientation secret.
“Living with my family in that (Southern California) community, it was not acceptable,” Rohrer told Outsports. “That was not part of the plan, and it wasn’t going to happen. When I went to Yale, it was the same thing there. And then I got drafted by the Cowboys. What am I going to do, come out then?”
He met Ross in 2015. He recently came out publicly through the media.
“My experience is that people are born gay, and anyone who wants to dispute that I’d be happy to have a conversation with them, including Mike Pence,” Rohrer said to Outsports. “I’d love to sit down with him.”