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49er on gay ex-teammate Kwame Harris: I see him 'no differently'

9:00 PM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
  • SAN FRANCISCO - 2006: Kwame Harris of the San Francisco 49ers poses for his 2006 NFL headshot at photo day in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Getty Images)
  • Delanie Walker #46 of the San Francisco 49ers runs pass drills during pre-game warm ups of an NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 29, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
    
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NEW ORLEANS (USA TODAY) -- One day after details of a bizarre court case involving former San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Kwame Harris and an ex-boyfriend inadvertently outed the former first-round pick, several current Niners who played with Harris said that knowing his sexuality probably wouldn't have made a difference in their locker room at the time.

"I don't think so, not at all," tight end Delanie Walker, who played with Harris for two seasons, said. "It probably wouldn't affect me, but other guys might feel different."

Walker said that Harris' orientation wasn't known to the team during his tenure in San Francisco from 2003-2007.

"I wouldn't assume that anybody who's gay that played on the team," Walker said.

"That's him. If that's what he's into, that's what he's into. I can't judge a person for how he feels. Things happen. He was a great player. I don't see him no differently."

While several NFL players have come out after their playing careers, there has never been an openly gay active one, a subject that Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and other current NFL players discussed this season as part of the national debate on same sex marriage.

"We all come from various different backgrounds, whatever they are," 49ers long snapper Brian Jennings said. "We're all there for the common purpose of winning football games. I don't know if it mattered or if anyone was aware of his sexual orientation."

Punter Andy Lee, who said he didn't know Harris well, seemed equally ambivalent.

"To each his own. It is what it is. You go about it and do your job and that's what you're there for," the three-time Pro Bowl player said.

"Whatever sexual preference you have, that's your own thing. That's not anything for me to judge you on."

Harris, who pleaded not guilty to the assault charges in the fall, appeared Monday in San Mateo County Superior Court and is scheduled to face trial in April.

Chris Strauss, USA TODAY Sports

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