"If seeing my story helps somebody else accept who they are and to go for their dreams too, that's great. I am thankful to Oprah for her support and excited to work together."
- Michael Sam
As if Michael Sam's stay in St. Louis wasn't already going to be a media circus, he'll have Oprah Winfrey's cameras following him around. The media mogul's TV network announced Wednesday it will film a reality show about Sam's life as the first openly gay active NFL player.
While the show will undoubtedly serve as an inspiration for the LGBT community and society as a whole, its effect on Sam's football life is dubious. NFL teams typically prefer their rookies stay out of the limelight and focus on football, something we've already seen with the Cleveland Browns' attempt to bridle the Hollywood lifestyle of Johnny Manziel (see below). Newly-drafted Cincinnati Bengal A.J. McCarron was heavily criticized when it was announced last month he would appear in a reality show with his girlfriend, Katherine Webb.
Sam did stress that football remained his main priority.
"Like every player out there working to make a team right now, my focus is on playing football to the very best of my ability," said Sam. "I am determined."
As a late seventh-round draft pick, Sam will need all the focus he has to make the Rams' final 53-man roster.
"The guy has yet to throw a pass, he’s yet to throw a touchdown, he’s yet to do anything that’s dynamic, other than being drafted."
- Browns GM Ray Farmer on Johnny Manziel
In Cleveland, the Browns are doing everything they can to keep the spotlight off of Johnny Manziel. The team is limiting his media availability and team owner Jimmy Haslam has gone out of his way to stress that Manziel will be the team's backup. On Wednesday, general manager Ray Farmer made it clear in an appearance on ESPN that nothing was going to be handed to the star first-round pick.
It's more about trying to treat him just like we treat all the other rookies. Give everybody an opportunity to earn their spot, demonstrate they're worthy of playing, and and Coach [Mike] Pettine being the one to handle who's actually going to get those reps. But nevertheless, we feel good about treating him the same as all the other rookies and give him an opportunity to demonstrate what his worth is on the field.
The Browns have launched an all-out offensive on the Johnny Football persona that made Manziel one of the most polarizing players in recent college football history. No matter how they try, though, Manziel will remain one of the hottest topics of conversation in the league for at least the immediate future.
"In my mind, he's a Green Bay Packer."
- Mike McCarthy on Jermichael Finley
The Packers used a third-round pick to draft tight end Richard Rodgers last weekend, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're moving on from Jermichael Finley, who has yet to be cleared by doctors after a career-threatening neck injury last season.
McCarthy told SiriusXM NFL Radio that he's been keeping tabs on Finley, who spent his first six years in the league in Green Bay, and is currently unsigned.
"He's going through a tough medical situation that we all recognize is a serious injury. My understanding is he's doing everything and beyond to get himself ready, and we'll continue to watch that."
General manager Ted Thompson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the drafting of Rodgers does not rule out the possibility of bringing Finley back on board were he to be medically cleared. With only two other tight ends currently on the roster, the Packers have space to bring him on.
"My hope is that one day Mike Glennon is a Hall of Famer."
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown could one day lose his job to Mike Glennon, but that hasn't stopped him from heaping praise on the second-year passer. The 34-year-old McCown, who is expected to be the starter after signing a two-year, $10 million free agent deal this offseason, told the Tampa Bay Times he hopes he'll be able to help kickstart the career of his 24-year-old understudy.
"I'd take great pride in saying you had a small part in that, man. He has everything out in front of him, so it's just helping him and making him better," McCown said. "Whenever that time is, that time is. Whenever you have two guys pushing and working with each other, both parties wanting the best for the team, you can capture something special."
Bucs coach Lovie Smith has labeled Glennon his "quarterback of the future," a position that seemed in jeopardy amid trade rumors leading up to the NFL Draft. But the team's refusal to draft a quarterback last weekend showed trust in the young passer, who played well -- though a bit inconsistent -- as a rookie in 2013.