Missouri All-American Michael Sam says he is gay, and the Tigers defensive end could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL.
In multiple interviews published Sunday night, the 260-pound Sam — an All-America pick last season and potential mid-round NFL draft pick in May — revealed he is gay.
"I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it," Sam told the New York Times. "I just want to own my truth."
In other interviews with ESPN and Outsports, Sam says he already came out to his teammates and coaches at Missouri in August.
"I am an openly, proud gay man," he said
Sam's representatives had spread the word to NFL teams recently he planned to come out before this month's NFL scouting combine.
On Saturday night, Sam had dinner with a group including former NFL punter Chris Kluwe and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who both have been outspoken in their support of gay rights.
No NFL player has announced publicly he's gay while his career is active. Several former players, including Kwame Harris and Esera Tuaolo, have said they're gay after retiring.
Sam participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., last month after leading the SEC in sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (19), and he is projected to be a mid-round NFL draft pick.
"It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process," he said. "But I know what I want to be ... I want to be a football player in the NFL."