It’s been 15 years since basketball superstar Earvin “Magic” JohnsonJr. became the first pro athlete to acknowledge that he had HIV. Butdespite activists’ hopes, the announcement hasn’t exactly spurred ablitz of sports disclosures. Indeed, in October 2005, it was police whodisclosed the status of Trevis Smith, an HIV positive American playingfor a Canadian football team—charging him with sexual assault for analleged unprotected encounter with a woman. All of which makes RoySimmons, 49, the only living football player to come out as HIVpositive, an expert commentator.

An offensive lineman with theNew York Giants (1979–82) and the Washington Redskins (1983–84),Simmons’ struggles to hide his bisexuality sacked his career. He cameout as gay in 1992 and tested positive in 1997. “A lot of people can’tdeal with my status,” Simmons tells POZ. “They still want to know me asSugar Bear [his nickname].”  He tells all in a new memoir, Out ofBounds: My Life In and Out of the NFL Closet ($25, Carroll & Graf),which gives a play-by-play of his childhood sexual abuse, his drugaddiction and the loss of a promising athletic career.

Despitefederal employment protections, Simmons doesn’t think other playerswill disclose anytime soon. “We’re dealing with peoples’ lives andmoney,”
Simmons says. “Who would dare?” A 1992 NFL studydetermined the risk of on-field transmission to be one in 85 million.“Treatment of the HIV-infected should remain between players andphysicians,” says the NFL’s HIV and drug abuse adviser, Lawrence Brown,MD. For his part, Simmons would rather see stricter field safetyrequirements than a mandatory disclosure policy.

How will he spend Super Bowl Sunday? Sticking to his vegetarian diet and “just staying clean.”