Michael Sam drafted by St. Louis Rams, will be NFL's first openly gay athlete

The SEC Defensive Player of the Year was selected 249th overall.
By Matt Bradwell  |  May 10, 2014 at 7:29 PM
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NEW YORK, May 10 (UPI) -- With their 7th round pick, the St. Louis Rams' front office selected Michael Sam 249th overall, the openly gay defensive end out of Missouri. If he makes the Rams' roster out of training camp, Sam will be the first openly gay man to play a down in the National Football League. For now, the 6-foot-2 Missouri alum is the first out-of-the-closet draftee and participant in official team activities.

Although Sam's sexual orientation has been the topic of much news coverage, Marc Sessler, who covers the NFL for the league's own media outlets, wrote, "Players and coaches league-wide have talked about Sam's sexual orientation as a non-issue. The NFL is ready for this."

Sam is viewed as an up-tempo defender with good field vision and speed. He won the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year racking up 11.5 sacks as a defensive end but is expected to transition to outside linebacker as a pro. Earlier this week Sam signed an endorsement deal with Visa, one of dozens offered before the draft even began.

The Rams kick off their 2014 campaign at home against the Vikings on September 7th.

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