A few months after the public learned that former 49er Kwame Harris is gay, he’s now speaking out about his experience being closeted in the NFL.

On Friday morning, Harris appeared in his first interview since an alleged assault of an ex-boyfriend publicly outed the former NFL offensive tackle. The interview aired on CNN Newsroom and can be seen in the video above.

In the interview — filmed at Stanford where he played his college ball — Harris discusses how painful it was to keep his sexuality a secret.

“You want to escape the despair and turmoil and your mind goes to dark places,” Harris said. “… I’m happy today, and I’m glad they were just ideas and I didn’t act on any of them.”