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NFL Draft prospect Michael Sam reveals he is gay

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The NFL has never had an openly gay player. That could all change this year, now that Draft prospect Michael Sam has announced he is gay. Sam is the SEC Defensive Player of the Year after an outstanding season at Missouri.

Kevin C. Cox

Missouri defensive end Michael Sam told ESPN's Outside the Lines, the New York Times, and SB Nation's Out Sports today that he is gay.  If he is selected in the NFL Draft in May, Sam could be the first openly gay player in league history.

"Once I became official to my teammates, I knew who I was," Sam told John Branch of the New York Times. "I knew that I was gay. And I knew that I was Michael Sam, who's a Mizzou football player who happens to be gay. I was so proud of myself and I just didn't care who knew. If someone on the street would have asked me, ‘Hey, Mike, I heard you were gay. Is that true?' I would have said yes.

"But no one asked. I guess they don't want to ask a 6-3, 260-pound defensive lineman if he was gay or not."

"I want to own my truth," Sam told the Times.

Sam recorded 11.5 sacks with Missouri this year, as well as 19 tackles for a loss, and two forced fumbles.  He was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year in December, sharing the award with Alabama's C.J. Mosley.  Sam came out to his teammates at Missouri in August, before the 2013 season started.