Kony Ealy doesn't see Michael Sam as off-field distraction

A veteran NFL locker room that works with Michael Sam's transition as the NFL's first openly gay player would be ideal, fellow Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy said.

Ealy would know more than almost anyone -- he was Sam's roommate at Missouri -- and believes Sam could thrive in that environment.

"I think as long as he goes in there having a positive attitude, and his mindset is strong. Also, a lot of help is on his new teammates. I feel like if the veterans will step up and help him along the way, during the process of that, being mature about the situation, they're going to have a great guy on their hands," Ealy said on NFL AM. "And they're going to have a great ballclub if they focus on the right things."

Sam divulged his sexual orientation publicly last month, although the entire Missouri locker room had been aware since last August. Sam was named SEC co-defensive player of the year with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss, leading the league in both categories for a 12-2 Missouri team.

"He's not a distraction on the field, he's not a distraction off the field," Ealy said.

Ealy is considered one of the draft's elite defensive ends and a first-round prospect, perhaps the second defensive end chosen after South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney. Ealy and Sam are preparing for Missouri's pro day on March 20, although Sam has far more to prove there after struggling at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Ealy, by contrast, impressed scouts with a 6.83 three-cone drill clocking that was the best among all defensive linemen.

"Show coaches I can move, have change of direction, be fluid. Get some extra money, I guess you could say," Ealy said of his goal for the upcoming pro day.

As for a preference on a pro team, Ealy said that as a St. Louis native, he'd like to be drafted by the St. Louis Rams. He grew up a fan of the club. He probably wouldn't be a fan of where the Rams would be able to pick him, however. With the No. 2 overall pick, the club is expected to either draft an offensive tackle or Clowney with its first choice. The Rams also have the No. 13 pick in the first round, which is probably too early for Ealy to come off the board. If the Rams were to acquire Ealy with their next pick, barring a trade-up, that would mean Ealy has fallen out of the first round.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread.*

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