Michael Sam Becomes First Openly Gay Player In NFL
At 5:48 PM central time St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher made history when he called in the pick for Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, and took him off the draft board.
"We drafted a good football player. I'm excited to get him on the practice field and get him going," said Fisher told NFL Network's Rich Eisen about Sam. "[We're] looking forward to this opportunity."
Sam was selected in the 7th-rd by the St. Louis Rams in the 2014 NFL Draft with the 249th overall pick. Sam officially becomes the first openly gay player in NFL history to be drafted.
"I'm excited, I'm ready and I'm so determined to be great," said Sam during a media conference call. "The 2013 co-defensive player of the year is ready to show the world that he is also ready to work."
Sam waited for three days for his name to be called, and busted into tears once hearing the news that he had been drafted into the league.
Immediately after, Sam took to twitter to thank the Rams organization for taking a chance on him.
"Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis. I'm using every ounce of this to achieve greatness!!" tweeted Sam.
During his career with the Missouri Tigers, Sam recorded 17 career tackles for loss and 9.5 career sacks, which was the most among the returning Tigers in 2013.
In 2013, he also led the Southeast Conference in sacks with 11.5, and was named the co-SEC Defensive Player of the year.
Rams general manager analyzed Sam's talent, and was pleasantly surprised to still see him on the board in the 7th-rd.
"When you talk about Michael Sam you put him in our category of DPR, which is designated pass rusher," said Rams GM Les Snead during the teams press conference. "We didn't discuss him any diffrent than any other player...we had him rated to go a little higher than [the] 7th-rd...obviously this guy's production, play speaks for itself."
Mixed emotions poured in on social media about Sam being selected. Most were very pleased that an organization drafted Sam.
"First and foremost congratulations to Michael Sam...welcome to the NFL," said NFL analyst Mike Mayock. "I wish you all the luck in the world, and I hope next year were talking about you purely as a member of the St. Louis Rams."
Current Rams players also reached out to Sam via Twitter to welcome him to the squad.
"Football is all about making plays, welcome to the squad @MikeSamFootball. Rams Nation accept you for who you are," tweeted Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
"Welcome to the squad @MikeSamFootball #D-LineShowtime," tweeted Rams defensive end Robert Quinn.
NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin also took to Twitter to congratulate Sam.
"Congrats to my friend @MikeSamFootball on being drafted by the #Rams. Always respected Coach Fisher. But this make me #LOVE Him. Thxs COACH," tweeted Irvin.
Sam's work is only beginning as he prepares for the Rams training camp determined to make the team.