Missouri defensive end Michael Sam addressed the media at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday. It was a highly anticipated press conference, as Sam will likely be the NFL's first openly gay player. He did not disappoint on the mic.
Sam acknowledged the extra attention he's gotten since coming out, but said he's been trying to tune it out and focus on football.
Sam said he hasn't been paying attention to the media. He said he has no endorsement and just training.— Dan Kadar (@MockingTheDraft) February 22, 2014
When asked if he felt like a trailblazer, Sam says he just wants to be known as a football player, not a gay football player. He also said that no teams asked him about his sexual orientation and it's been all football questions.
Do you feel like a trailblazer ? "I feel like Michael Sam."— Michael Tanier (@MikeTanier) February 22, 2014
Sam: I just wish you guys would see me as a football player, not Michael Sam, a gay football player.— Dan Kadar (@MockingTheDraft) February 22, 2014
As for on-field activity, Sam has been perceived as a "tweener" by scouts due to his size (he weighed in at 6'2, 261 pounds). He calls himself a pass rusher and believes he can succeed when coaches put him in a position to get to the quarterback.
Missouri DE Michael Sam said he can drop back in pass coverage, but he's a pass rusher.— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) February 22, 2014
Sam closed the press conference on a humorous note when asked about his inconsistent sack numbers in college:
"Winning is hard buddy" - very funny line at the end from michael Sam in response to a question about his inconsistent sack numbers— Stephen White (@sgw94) February 22, 2014
Sam is projected to be drafted somewhere in the middle rounds and checks in at No. 11 on Mocking The Draft's defensive end rankings.