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Defender Sam set to become first openly gay NFL player

Published on May 7, 2014 6:13 AM
 
Missouri Tigers defensive end Michael Sam speaks at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on Feb 22, 2014. Michael Sam, a collegiate standout who revealed his homosexuality last February, is expected to be chosen in this week's NFL Draft and could become the league's first openly gay player. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Michael Sam, a collegiate standout who revealed his homosexuality last February, is expected to be chosen in this week's NFL Draft and could become the league's first openly gay player.

Sam, a defensive end who played at the University of Missouri, figures to be taken in the later rounds of the annual allocation process of new talent to American football clubs, which starts pn Thursday and ends on Saturday.

"I just wish you guys would just see me as Michael Sam the football player instead of Michael Sam the gay football player," Sam told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine where his strength, speed and agility were tested.

"The positive outweighs the negative. I'm kind of surprised, actually. But there's a lot of supporters. a lot of people want this. There's just a lot of support out there." Sam played down his role as a groundbreaker, saying, "A trailblazer? I just feel like Michael Sam." Nevertheless, he enters the American sports landscape in the wake of Jason Collins becoming the first openly gay player in the NBA, now with the Brooklyn Nets in the second round of the NBA playoffs against defending NBA champion Miami.

 
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