"The Voice," which returned to NBC Monday night for its 13th season with a round of blind auditions, introduced us to the strong, soaring vocals of one Esera Tuaolo. And while he might not be a household name for his voice as of yet, there are some football fans out there who might remember him as a defensive tackle in the NFL throughout the 1990s.
But the 49-year-old didn't just wow the judges with his version of Andra Day's "Rise Up," he also won their hearts with his story. During his stint in the NFL, Tuaolo never let on that he was gay. And while he's been out for many years now, he explained how it felt to finally open himself up.
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"When I finished in the NFL, I came out to my family," he said on the show, reported People Magazine. "When I said those words for the first [time]; when I said that 'I was gay,' it was like this huge mountain just crumbled."
He continued, "I felt light as a feather but when I jumped on the scale I was still that 6-foot-4-inch, 300-pound Samoan that's gay and played in the NFL."