Michael Sam had to be in disbelief as he sat through almost seven full rounds of the NFL draft without hearing his name called.
His demeanor changed dramatically when the St. Louis Rams selected him in the seventh round, 249th overall.
Sam, a former standout defensive end at Missouri, became the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL on Saturday. Sam was named the SEC’s co-defensive player of the year in 2013. The last seven SEC Defensive Players of the Year were taken in the first round, but Sam was almost undrafted.
Once Sam was drafted, there was no shortage of reaction on Twitter. Included in the Twitter reaction was Sam, former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe who has been outspoken about gay rights, Rams receiver and former Missouri teammate T.J. Moe, former Rams great running back Eric Dickerson, Bears guard Kyle Long (who is the brother of Rams defensive end Chris Long), Rams defensive end Robert Quinn, former NFL quarterback Rudy Carpenter and former NFL linebacker Scott Fujita:
Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis. I'm using every once of this to achieve greatness!! pic.twitter.com/QESdOJVzsw— Michael Sam (@MikeSamFootball) May 10, 2014
At least one team finally showed some balls. Good job Rams.— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 10, 2014
However, it's still a very real problem that it took this long.— Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 10, 2014
Congrats to fellow game of throner @MikeSamFootball on being drafted by the rams— Kyle Long (@Ky1eLong) May 10, 2014
This Michael Sam situation is weird, guess Im not fit for this world! ✌️— Rudy Carpenter (@rudygcarp12) May 10, 2014
Congratulations to Michael Sam, Rams, NFL, everyone... This is a big moment in sports, and beyond.— Scott Fujita (@sfujita55) May 10, 2014
ESPN also caught up to Nets center Jason Collins, who became the first openly gay athlete in any sport earlier this season.
"I’m very happy for Michael that he got drafted and that his dream is coming true, that he’s going to have an opportunity to make the team. I wish him the best of luck," Collins told ESPN. "It takes more and more people just to come forward and show we’re normal people and we’re trying to make plays to help our respective teams win. It’s a great day for the NFL and Michael Sam and his family."
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel told Yahoo's Nick Bromberg that he was happy for his former player.
"I felt the NFL did the right thing," Pinkel said. "He was certainly a capable player to be drafted, and he was. I think it's a great statement for the Rams organization and this is really a lot bigger than football. It's amazing how sport can have an influence on society and, hopefully, three or four or five years from now that there's not going to be any discussion about this.
"But he had enough courage to do what he did and I think it says an awful lot about the Rams, an awful lot about the NFL, so I'm really happy for him."
Sam is finally on an NFL team, but it will not end the numerous opinions surrounding his NFL career.
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