It's the celebrity couple you never heard about ... 'Queer Eye' star Carson Kressley says he once dated an NFL player ... an 8 year veteran who played in the Super Bowl.
FYI ... the guy Carson's talking about is Esera Tuaolo who played DT in the NFL from '91-'99 and saw action in the Super Bowl XXXIII as a member of the Atlanta Falcons.
We got Kressley out at LAX and asked him about the stigma that gay men would somehow be less effective on the football fields of the NFL.
That's when Carson shot down the idea ... and revealed he had dated Tuaolo -- who revealed his sexual orientation after he finished his career back in the day.
By the way, Carson says he and Esera are still good friends.