SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Kwame Harris is acknowledging publicly that he’s gay.

The former Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman discussed his sexuality Friday on CNN, in a piece reported by Harris’ one-time Stanford University teammate, Coy Wire.

Harris told Wire that he wanted to send a message of support to other young gay athletes.

“You want to escape this despair, this turmoil and maybe your mind goes to dark places sometimes. But I would just say that I’m happy today,” said Harris.

“I want people, you know whether they’re gay athletes or athletes who are still in the closet or youth who aren’t quite sure what their sexuality is to realize that not only is that unique, the those feelings are common feelings,” he continued. “Don’t feel incredibly alone in having these questions.”

Harris sexuality was previously discussed, albeit in a somewhat circumspect manor, when he was charged earlier this year with felony domestic abuse after an incident at a Menlo Park restaurant. Prosecutors described Harris and the man he allegedly assaulted as having been “romantically involved.” That case is still pending.

No active NFL player has formally revealed he is gay, though NFL Players Association president Domonique Foxworth said this week that he fully expects it to happen, adding that the union was working to prepare its members for that reality.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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