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Colton Underwood's former college football coach, teammates after he came out publicly as gay: 'Took amazing courage'

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Mike Zimmer said he received a phone call several months ago from former “Bachelor” Colton Underwood to discuss an important personal matter. 

“He seemed super relieved like a huge weight was taken off his shoulders,” said Zimmer, Underwood’s close friend and teammate at Illinois State University where the two played college football together. 

That weight lifted off Underwood’s shoulders was the revelation that he’s gay – a truth Underwood told the entire world on Wednesday in an emotional interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” 

“It was a little shocking,” Zimmer said. “It took amazing courage to do that with me and then publicly. I wouldn’t expect anything less from him as a person. He’s been able to navigate his public life and he’s had times in his life where he’s had to dig down deep and fortify himself, to find that strength. That’s what he’s doing here.” 

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Colton Underwood played football at Illinois State from 2010-13.

Underwood was a two-time All-American as part of ISU’s program from 2010-13 – recording 215 career tackles while playing as a linebacker and tight end. He helped guide the Redbirds to the FCS playoff quarterfinals in 2012. Underwood latched on with several teams in the NFL after going undrafted—  with the San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders, though he never appeared in a game.



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