Former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, potentially the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, doesn't know Michael Sam. But he's seen him play enough to be impressed with the NFL's first openly gay draft prospect, regardless of his sexuality.
"I really didn't have a reaction," Clowney told College Football 24/7. "A guy's sexuality, if that's the way he wants to be, that's (between) him, and the team he gets drafted by and the guys in the locker room. I hope the best for him. I still think he's a great player."
Sam told the New York Times and ESPN on Sunday that he is gay, although he had informed Missouri teammates last August, and a few of his closest friends on the team even before that. Projected as a third- to fifth-round pick by some analysts, Sam is a pass rusher like Clowney, but is undersized at 6-foot-1, 255 pounds.
Clowney said he only knows a couple of players on the Missouri team personally, and Sam isn't one of them. If Sam and Clowney happen to end up being drafted by the same club, it will be a new experience for Clowney, who doesn't believe he's ever played with a gay teammate before.
"Never. Not that I know of," he said.
As for Sam's draft stock and whether his announcement will affect it, Clowney said he is too busy being focused on his own place in the draft.
"I don't know how that's going to go," Clowney said. "I don't have to worry about Michael Sam, he has to answer that for other teams."
Sam will get that chance in two weeks at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.