Michael Sam, the first openly gay football player to be drafted by an NFL team, said he hopes to eventually play in a game during an interview on the “Dan Patrick Show” on Friday.
The 6-foot-2, 260-pound defensive end also believes coming out while at the University of Missouri hurt his chances to make an NFL roster, even though he was with the St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys for several weeks before each team cut him.
Sam, who eventually signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, admitted that “it was really a last call to go to the CFL. I never really wanted to go into the CFL, but I did and I committed to going. But you know, I left with some personal issues the first time and the second time I came back I really hadn’t gotten over those issues. I was dealing with a lot of stuff and a lot of stuff was on my mind and it affected my play on the field. I needed to step away from the CFL and from football to get myself back on track.
“I want to thank the Montreal Alouettes for all they’ve done for me, but I wasn’t getting better as a football player. That was one of the main keys, I wasn’t getting better as a football player. It was a different defense, a defense I wasn’t used to, and all the stuff I learned from the Rams, the Cowboys, I thought I was losing that technique in Montreal.”
Sam said that he “wanted to come out after I made an NFL roster, it really wasn’t supposed to be public. It was just supposed to be to the team, as I did at the University of Missouri.”
Sam said some reporters knew about his sexuality and said they’d like to tell his story, but he told Patrick that he “wanted to be the one to tell my own story. I didn’t want someone to tell it for me.”
When Patrick asked Sam whether coming out while in college hurt his professional career, Sam hedged in his response.
“You know what, I’m not going to say if I came out or not ... but, I mean, it probably would have enhanced my, or it probably would have been better for me, if I didn’t come out, I would be on a roster, but, as I said, I have no regrets whatsoever.” he said.
Sam told Patrick that he believes he can play in the NFL.
“I am a football player, a damn good one too, and I want to prove myself within this league,” he said. “I know that I can do this, and I can play in this league.”