By Jim Buzinski

"Connor Barwin is proof of how attitudes about gay issues are changing in sports. After Outsports wrote about his tweets supporting same-sex marriage, he reached out and said he wanted to do an interview on the issue. He is the first pro team sport athlete to ever contact Outsports to talk about gay issues.

Barwin, 25, is a pass-rushing outside linebacker for the Houston Texans entering his fourth season. His 11.5 sacks in 2011 led the team and ranked him ninth in the NFL. He was a key cog in a Texans’ defense that ranked fourth in the league in fewest points allowed, and helped the team to its first playoff appearance in franchise history. He grew up in Hazel Park, Mich., and attended the University of Cincinnati (where he majored in history)."