Michael Sam passes on White House Correspondents’ Dinner to focus on football

In the case of Michael Sam, he has joined perhaps an even rarer club: a college athlete who turned down such an invitation.

USA Today's "For The Win" reports that Sam was invited to the event but will pass, despite the great honor.

[Be sure to check out Shutdown Corner's NFL free-agent rankings. Click here for the list of offensive players, and click here for the list of defensive and special teams players]

“We respectfully declined,” said Howard Bragman, one of Sam's advisers. “As much fun as I would have had and he would have had going, it sends the wrong message. If he gets on a team and plays well, he’ll probably be invited next year. I don’t want people to think that he’s interested in anything other than getting ready for the [NFL] draft.”

Sam announced to the world in early February that he's gay. As Sam is trying to make a name for himself in the NFL, he has been passing on several media opportunities and events such as this. Last season, Sam seldom spoke at the University of Missouri, citing a desire to focus on football. Smart move: Sam was the co-SEC defensive player of the year in 2013.

So while other draft prospects will trade in on their fame to enjoy experiences that few others are afforded, that apparently will not be Sam leading up to the draft weekend of May 8-10. Although Sam struggled with his workouts at the NFL scouting combine, he has a chance to boost his draft stock a bit with Mizzou's pro day on March 20.

- - - - - - -

Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!