Rams pick openly gay Michael Sam in NFL draft

Michael Sam (left) kisses his boyfriend after being drafted 249th overall by the St. Louis Rams on...

Michael Sam (left) kisses his boyfriend after being drafted 249th overall by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday. (YouTube)

JOHN KRYK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:56 PM ET

NEW YORK - Michael Sam wants to be known merely as a good football player. Not a gay football player.

On Saturday at 6:50 p.m. EDT, the University of Missouri pass-rush specialist became known as an NFL player.

The St. Louis Rams selected him with the eighth-last pick of the NFL draft, late in the seventh round, No. 249th overall.

The smattering of fans still in attendance at Radio City Music Hall erupted with by far the largest cheer of seven-hour day.

Sam is the league's first openly gay player.

ESPN soon aired riveting video of the moment Sam found out. His family and friends erupted in joy as he wept, then embraced and kissed his male partner.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this week he hoped Sam would get drafted. He did, if barely.

On Feb. 9, Sam announced his sexual orientation, which set off a tsunami of press reaction. He'd informed his coaches and teammates last summer, who'd kept the news quiet for months.

Sam talked about his announcement decision in late February at his scouting-combine news conference. For the past two-and-a-half months, as he'd promised, Sam kept a low profile. He preferred to be treated no differently than hundreds of other draft prospects.

Sam's being drafted so late had nothing to do with his being gay.

In analysts' eyes he's a 'tweener -- a bit small at 6-foot-2, 255 pounds to be a pure pass rusher, and not nearly nimble enough to be a pass-covering linebacker in space. His combine speed and athleticism times were disappointingly slow.

Analysts slotted him as a late-round draft pick, at best.


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