A burly bundle of nerves: Atlanta Falcons player Esera Tuaolo, in Miami for Super Bowl XXXIII.
It wasn't the January 1999 game that petrified Tuaolo. It was fear of being outed as gay.
''The size of the fishbowl in Miami heightened the extreme paranoia I already felt as a closeted man playing in the NFL,'' writes Tuaolo, 37, in his new book, Alone in the Trenches: My Life As a Gay Man in the NFL.
Tuaolo, who retired in 2000 after a decade in pro football, spares nothing. He writes about being sexually molested as a small child by an uncle; his gay brother's death from AIDS; and singing the National Anthem at televised football games and being afraid to look at the camera or crowd -- terrified that he'd be recognized and outed by men he had had sex with.
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What: Esera Tuaolo signs copies of his book, Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL ($25, Sourcebooks)
Where: Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables
When: 4 p.m. today
Info: 305-442-4408, www.eseratuaolo.com