St. Louis Rams' Michael Sam 'determined to be great'


The Michael Sam story is bigger than football. That might be the single-biggest challenge Sam faces as he attempts to make the St. Louis Rams.

Sam, the first openly gay player in NFL history, started the business of life after the draft Tuesday, sitting on a platform with other Rams rookies during an introductory news conference at team headquarters.

After the Q&A session was done, Sam was brought back for a 1-on-1 with the press. This time, he was flanked by coach Jeff Fisher, general manager Les Snead and team president Kevin Demoff.

This is not how seventh-round picks are typically treated. Sitting alongside his new teammates, Sam smiled and seemed at ease. When Sam became the focus, he appeared decidedly less comfortable.

What are your thoughts about being the first openly gay NFL player?

"I guess it's great?"

How do you handle negative comments in social media?

"You know how I handle it? I don't read 'em."

Will you make the team?

"You're going to find out in a couple months, huh?"

Your thoughts about having the second-highest selling rookie jersey?

"That's cool."

Sam offered more when asked how he'd react to being the target of derogatory language on the field.

"I'm determined to be great, I'm determined to make this team and I have every confidence in myself that I will make this team," he said. "So when I do make it, and I put my pads on, then you'll see No. 96 running down that field and making big plays for this team."

Sam seems acutely aware of the reality of his situation. He's the 249th pick, a total roster longshot who's trying to catch on with one of the most stacked defensive lines in football.

The challenge is very real, and it's one that goes well beyond what Sam does on the field.

The "Around The League Podcast" wrapped up the draft by picking our winners and losers.