Getting a show of support from President Barack Obama and the First Lady via Twitter had to be special for Michael Sam, but then again, he's not trying to find a job at the White House. The NFL's first openly gay draft prospect is, however, looking to embark upon a socially historic NFL career.
And as such, receiving a welcome from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell figures to be special for the former Missouri defensive end, as well.
"Good for him," Goodell said while addressing Sam's announcement at Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition "Wall Street Project" in New York City. "He's proud of who he is and had the courage to say it. Now he wants to play football. We have a policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. We will have further training and make sure that everyone understands our commitment. We truly believe in diversity and this is an opportunity to demonstrate it."
Some analysts project Sam, expected to serve as a 3-4 outside linebacker or designated pass rusher, to be selected anywhere from the third to fifth round in the May 8-10 draft. The SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year recorded 11.5 sacks last year, with 19 tackles for loss, to lead the league in both categories.