Michael Sam is ready to play. Shortly after being selected by the St. Louis Rams with the 249th pick of the 2014 draft, making him the first openly gay player ever drafted into the NFL, the former Missouri first-team All-American defensive lineman seemed eager to start his professional football career.
"I've been preparing for this moment for a very long time and I'm excited. I'm ready and I'm so determined to be great. I feel like I'm Clowney being the first draft pick in the draft," Sam said during a conference call with Rams reporters. "Since my big announcement, there has been a whole speculation of the first openly gay football player. But you know what? It's not about that. It's about playing football. Can Michael Sam play football? Yes, I can. And the St.Louis Rams know I can. And I'm going to give everything I got to the St. Louis Rams, to help the Rams win a championship."
The 24-year-old, who publicly came out as gay back in February in interviews with The New York Times and ESPN, said he understood that he will face some harassment. But that isn't a concern.
"Are there going to be idiots out there who say some stupid stuff? Yeah. I'm not worried about that," Sam said. "I'm worried about the guy next to me, the guy in front of me. I have to prove myself."
Sam assured reporters he was ready to do just that. "If we were playing the Vikings right now, I'd probably have three sacks the first game," he said, per the Columbia Daily Tribune.