Sporting a rainbow button with the words “Stand With Sam” written across it, the defensive end prospect out of Missouri answered questions for roughly 15 minutes. SPOILER: Most of the questions had nothing to do with football. He was professional. He was funny at times. He was composed. He said all the right things. But most importantly, Michael Sam seemed really happy, even if he seemed a little nervous at first.
The pin was given to him by a woman at a Missouri-Tennessee basketball game.
For the record, we’re pretty confident wearing a rainbow pin to the NFL Combine has never been done before by a player. Now let’s see if the Nets or Clippers end up signing 35-year-old openly gay big man, Jason Collins, this week, effectively changing the scope of Sam’s anticipated arrival as the first openly gay athlete in a major American sport. Judging by his responses today, we’re pretty sure all he wants to do is play football and make millions of dollars doing it. Wait, is it weird that he’s gay or that people actually get paid millions of dollars to run around for seven second clips, a few plays a game, 16 games a year?
•How would he deal with fans who might hurl insults at him? “When I’m on the field, I don’t focus on the fans. I focus on my responsibilities, which is the guy right across from me.”
•What if the Dolphins drafted him? “If the Miami Dolphins drafted me, I would be excited to be a part of that organization. I’m not afraid of going into that environment. I know how to handle myself. I know how to communicate with teammates and coaches.”
•What if one of your teammates insults you in a not-so-playful way? “If someone wants to call me a name, I’ll have a conversation with that guy, and hopefully, it won’t lead to anything else.”
Sam will participate in the the forty-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three cone drill, 20-yard shuffle, and sixty-yard shuffle on Monday, February 24th. You can read his pre-combine scouting report here.