Indianapolis, IN, United States (4E Sports) – Two weeks after announcing that he’s gay, draft prospect Michael Sam addressed the media for the first time in the NFL scouting combine.
During the media session, the former Missouri defensive end tackled every issue but called on reporters to focus on his football abilities rather on his sexuality.
“Heck yeah, I wish you guys would tell me, ‘Michael Sam, how’s football going?’” Sam said. “I would love for you to ask me that question, but it is what it is.”
“And I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam, the football player, instead of Michael Sam, the gay football player,” he added.
Sam said he’s focused on showing his abilities in the combine workout as well as his pro day, but he’s prepared for any other issues or any prejudice that may arise from his revelation.
Sam said he has no problem even if the Miami Dolphins were to draft him in the wake of the team’s bullying scandal, saying he’s excited to simply try to earn a spot on an NFL roster.
“If [the] Miami Dolphins drafted me, I would be excited to be a part of that organization,” Sam said. “I’m not afraid about going into that environment. I know how to handle myself, I know how to communicate with my teammates, I know how to communicate with coaches … and whoever I need to communicate with.”
If confronted by a future teammate who had an issue with his sexual orientation, Sam said he would address it with the player.
“If someone wants to call me a name, I will have a conversation with that guys and hopefully it won’t lead to nothing else,” Sam said.
However, at 6-foot-1 5/8 inches and 260 pounds, there are football questions surrounding Sam’s entry into the league.
For some, he is considered small at defensive end in a traditional 4-3 look on defense and he does not have much experience as an outside linebacker. Scouts also said that he struggled some in linebacker drills at the Senior Bowl.
Some teams have pointed out that nine of Sam’s 11.5 sacks this past season came in games against Arkansas State, Florida and Vanderbilt.
Sam’s on-field workout at the combine with be Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium as the defensive linemen are put through the paces.