Up to this point, the biggest test for Michael Sam was on the football field. But after admitting to the world that he is gay, the former defensive end for Missouri may find an even bigger test lies ahead with his NFL future. Sam is expected to be a high pick in the 2014 draft. This would be the first time an openly gay NFL player enters the locker room with his teammates.
Sam's admission is likely going to create a media frenzy at the scouting combine, which starts February 19 in Indianapolis. Sam is expected to be there, and up to this point, no player has been discussed like he will be.
One writer with website Bleacher Report said with Sam's talents, there's no question he should be picked in the first round. And an NFL General Manager said if Sam falls past the third round, then something stinks, and that may show the NFL is not quite ready to accept openly gay players.
There is also the question of whether Sam would be accepted by his teammates. One player told Bleacher Report it can go either way. About half of the players on one particular team may accept him, while the rest won't.
But whatever happens, it's out there now.
Sam added that his sexual orientation should not be a problem to people. He also made it known that it should make no difference to his future NFL teammates, and he's not afraid of who he is.
Sam's declaration could have a substantial impact in the sports world. This may open the door to other NFL players coming out, and could even lessen the stigma that exists in youth sports.
Up to this point, gay NFL players have only come out in retirement.
Sam would not be the first openly gay player to try out for the NFL, but he would be the first to earn a roster spot.