(CBS/AP) – Missouri All-American Michael Sam came out to the nation on Sunday night and could become the NFL’s first openly gay player.
In interviews with ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports that were released Sunday, Sam said he came out to all his teammates and coaches at Missouri in August.
“I am an openly, proud gay man,” he said.
Sam will participate in the NFL combine later this month in Indianapolis and is currently projected to be a mid-round draft pick in May.
“I just want to go to the team who drafts me,” he told ESPN, “because that team knows about me, knows that I’m gay, and also knows that I work hard. That’s the team I want to go to.”
The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Sam led the Southeastern Conference in sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (19). He was the SEC defensive player of the year.
There have been a few NFL players who have come out after their playing days, including Kwame Harris and Dave Kopay.
Last year, NBA player Jason Collins announced he was gay. Collins, a 35-year-old backup center, was a free agent when he came out and has not signed with a new team this season. MLS star and U.S. national team player Robbie Rogers also came out a year ago.
“His courage will inspire millions to live their truth,” Rogers tweeted about Sam.
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