Quotables: Michael Sam is not a distraction

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The rookie symposium yielded plenty of fodder for today's NFL quotables, most notably some insight as to how other first-year players feel about the league's first openly gay player.

"You don't see anyone not talking to him or against him."

--Rams OL Greg Robinson on DE Michael Sam

St. Louis Rams rookie Michael Sam continues to focus on football while the world around him keys in on the fact he's the first openly gay player to suit up in the NFL. On Tuesday, his teammate and fellow rookie Greg Robinson confirmed the team's focus while both he and Sam were in Ohio attending the four-day NFL Rookie Symposium.

"He's just another guy in the locker room," Robinson said. "He's really cool once you get to know him, and I feel like he has a great story behind him."

"I think we're a bigger, more physically intimidating team"

--Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

There's a lot of buzz in Northeast Wisconsin about the Green Bay Packers adding size at every position, and in an interview with ESPN.com, Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers addressed it directly, saying it's only going to help matters and allow them to compete with other larger teams.

"We haven't had the kind of physical talent as far as size here in a while. I think there's been times -- I think back to playing Jacksonville in '08 in Jacksonville [a 20-16 Packers' loss], some of the battles we've had with our division teams at times -- where you walk on the field and feel like you're kind of a JV team."

"I’d say it looks really good for almost all those guys [returning from injury]."

--Ravens HC John Harbaugh

For the Baltimore Ravens to return to Super Bowl form, they'll need to get healthy after a litany of injuries cost them a shot at making the playoffs.

Injuries to Terrell Suggs, Marshal Yanda, Jameel McClain and Ed Reed depleted both sides of the ball and made for a difficult road through the AFC North. This year could be a different story with the team the healthiest its been in the John Harbaugh era.

"You can’t be wishy-washy in this situation."

--Seahawks CB Richard Sherman on 49ers' TE Vernon Davis

Sometimes solidarity as NFL brethren trump even the fiercest rivalries, and that's exactly what took place in the case of Richard Sherman when the Seattle Seahawks cornerback was asked to weigh in on the contract situation of San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis.

"Do what you believe," Sherman said. "If he believes in what he's doing, you got to stick to it. You can't be wishy-washy in this situation. And it sounds like he's standing his ground ... That's when you don't get that deal you want. So I think he's doing the way he intended. He's really valuable to his team, so I'm sure they'll get together on something."

The answer he gave in full, which was noticeably genuine, shouldn't come as a surprise. Players frequently side with one another when it comes to getting paid because in the end, they all benefit when their peers earn higher salaries.

"I think it was misinterpreted."
--Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater

It's difficult to imagine anyone wanting to play for the Cleveland Browns, but when rookie Teddy Bridgewater admitted as much in May, he faced his fair share of criticism. At the NFL Rookie Symposium, he backtracked and explained that his comments were more to talk up the Minnesota Vikings organization as his ideal destination than to disparage the Browns.

"What I was saying was I had a strong feeling about the Minnesota Vikings," he said. "I was able to meet with them five or six times in the pre-draft visits. I just had a pretty solid feeling about the Minnesota Vikings, but, you know, I try to put the pre-draft stuff behind and try to just focus on my career with the Minnesota Vikings."

"When it came to certain things, we butted heads sometimes – route running and route technique. So I knew I didn’t fit his system."

--  Panthers WR Jason Avant on Eagles head coach Chip Kelly

Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant is looking forward to resurrecting his career with the Carolina Panthers at age 31. In a wide-ranging interview with The Charlotte Observer, the former Michigan standout revealed that a difference in philosophy with then-first-year head coach Chip Kelly was a reason for his release from Philly.

"If you’ve been playing the game the right way and doing the small things, you don’t age as fast," Avant said. "You don’t have to try to reinvent yourself. There are a lot of fast guys who lose a step and then they can’t get open anymore because they’ve been playing with speed. I haven’t depended on speed so it doesn’t affect me. You see Tim Duncan at age 38 still being able to play at such a high level because he’s been a great fundamental player his whole career."

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