The St. Louis Rams made history on May 10 by drafting Michael Sam -- the first openly-gay player to be drafted by an NFL team -- in the seventh round.
The St. Louis Rams drafted Michael Sam with the 249th overall pick in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft on May 10.
Jonathan Webb of the Rams' official website wrote more about the development:
"With the 249th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Rams and defensive end Michael Sam made history on Saturday afternoon.
"The selection of Sam quickly became the most anticipated pick of the latter rounds on Saturday afternoon. The 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year became the first openly-gay player to be chosen in the NFL Draft.
"The pick of Sam was made via a phone call by Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, who recounted the conversation with Sam to ESPN following the draft selection.
"'I said, 'Hi, this is Jeff Fisher, you are a Ram -- the wait is finally over,' Fisher said. 'In the world of diversity we live in now, I'm honored to be a part of this and I'm excited about his opportunity to help this football team win.'"
Fisher assured Rams fans that Sam's selection will not be a distraction, per Webb.
"We're in an age of diversity. The players understand that. They know that. I think the University of Missouri should be commended on how they handled that thing.
"It's not a distraction. People try to make it a distraction, but it's not a distraction. I'm personally proud of him for coming out.
"I'm sure it was a very difficult thing for him to do, and I would also submit that it was a probably a tremendous load off his shoulders. The truth is out there and he was accepted by so many people."
Sam told Webb he's excited about joining the Rams.
"I am overwhelmed, I am excited, and I'm proud to be a Ram. I knew I was going to get picked somewhere. Every team that passed on me, I was thinking about how I was going to sack their quarterback.
"I am so confident, and it's all about football. It's about winning games and winning championships, and the St. Louis Rams wanted to win championships.
"I think they drafted two great players today: (Missouri teammate) E.J. Gaines and myself. We're going to rock it. There's a chip on our shoulder. We're pissed off for greatness."
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Dave Matter chimed in on Sam's selection:
"Considered smaller than the prototypical defensive end, Sam didn't produce the kind of speed and quickness measurables at the NFL combine that land players at his position in the draft's early rounds.
"At 6-2 and 260 pounds, Sam isn't as an every-down defensive end in a 4-3 defense. Unlike any other player in the draft, Sam's scouting report included another factor.
"Leading up to the draft, teams had to consider the media sideshow that Sam will attract as the league's first openly-gay player -- just the kind of distractions Mizzou avoided last season.
"Sam's sexual orientation never came up publicly during Missouri's 12-2 season as avoided media interviews and teammates and coaches and respected his privacy. Will his new NFL teammates embrace him the same way?
"'Guys know the whole story, so it's not going to be a surprise to anyone,' said Rams center Tim Barnes, who was a senior at Missouri when Sam was a redshirt freshman. 'Back at Mizzou it wasn't a big deal to anyone, and I don't perceive it to be a big deal here, either.'"
Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones told ESPN Dallas' Calvin Watkins he's happy for Sam in a May 10 interview.
"Well, I don't know what's going on in other draft rooms involving him, I don't. All I know is we spent the same amount of time on him that you would normally spend as a valuable defensive player in the SEC, we really did. He just didn't fit for us.
"You know, I was happy for him and I was happy to see him drafted. I don't know what that means, but I was happy to see him drafted because it just shouldn't be an issue."
President Barack Obama also got in on the act, according to a May 11 update from ESPN's Nick Wagoner.
"Via a statement issued through the White House, Obama praised the Rams and Sam for their respective courage in making the Missouri defensive end the first openly-gay football player to be taken in the NFL draft.
"'The president congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our nation's journey. From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not what you are,' the statement read."
Webb notes Sam joins a St. Louis defensive line that accounted for 46 of the team's 53 sacks in 2013 -- third-most in the NFL.
Sam had 11 sacks and 19 tackles for loss last sason for the Missouri Tigers, per Webb.
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