Michael Sam was the most disruptive defensive end on the SEC's most talented pass rush last season. The first-team All-American was struggling transitioning to outside linebacker at the Senior Bowl last month, but seemed at ease coming out the closet during an interview with ESPN's Chris Connelley and in a separate conversation with The New York Times on Sunday night. However, Sam's teammates found out this summer.
Via New York Times:
Coaches at the University of Missouri divided players into small groups at a preseason football practice last year for a team-building exercise. One by one, players were asked to talk about themselves — where they grew up, why they chose Missouri and what others might not know about them.
As Michael Sam, a defensive lineman, began to speak, he balled up a piece of paper in his hands. “I’m gay,” he said. With that, Mr. Sam set himself on a path to become the first publicly gay player in the National Football League.
“I looked in their eyes, and they just started shaking their heads — like, finally, he came out,” Mr. Sam said Sunday in an interview with The New York Times, the first time he spoke publicly about his sexual orientation.
Trey Hobson, a teammate of Sam's last season also came out in support of Sam becoming the first openly gay NFL player or prospect.
Never cared if Michael was gay… As long as he put that pass rush on the QB and made my job easier i didnt give a damn…
— Trey Hobson™ (@TreyHob21) February 10, 2014
Sam is projected as a mid-round pick after leading the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss this season.