Missouri’s Markus Golden Will Be Interesting To Watch In 2015 NFL Draft

Erik Siegrist, writing for Rotowire, has an interesting take on Markus Golden, Defensive End for Mizzou, who’s up for the NFL draft this year.

He compares Golden to another player from last year’s draft in terms of stats and play:

Basically, the same stats, right?

Cutting to the chase, I’m sure regular readers (who must be wondering why I’m writing about a DE from Missouri out of nowhere) will guess: Golden is Player A and out footballer Michael Sam is Player B.

Like Sam last year, Golden’s size has most teams viewing him as undersized for a DE, but a possible candidate to move to OLB instead. Like Sam last year, most experts are viewing Golden as a probable mid-round pick, possibly sneaking into the third round but more likely getting selected on Day Three.

Last year, in a deep class for pass rushers, 43 DEs and OLBs came off the board before Sam was selected late in the seventh round.

[snip]

But when on paper two players are so similar, if there’s a wide divergence in their fates in the draft, you have to start looking seriously at other factors to explain the discrepancy.

Through no fault of his own, Markus Golden is in a position to almost single-handedly prove (or disprove) the most common theory as to why Michael Sam is currently not with an NFL team, even on a futures contract.

The NFL continues to hold the line that Sam isn’t on an NFL roster because he wasn’t good enough.

We’ll see if the same stats – without the cache of being Co-Defensive Player of the Year for the SEC as Sam was – will work better for Golden.

And that will definitely tell us something. Won’t it?

Anonymous Bisexual NFL Player “Offended” Michael Sam Said Others Don’t Have Courage To Come Out

TMZ Sports is reporting that they have spoken to a “bisexual NFL player” who’s “offended” because out NFL-er Michael Sam said other gay men in the league are less courageous because they don’t want to come out.

The player — who didn’t want to be identified by name — has played in the league for several seasons and says he’s open about his sexuality with close friends.

But when the player read Sam’s recent comments about gay men in the league — he was offended.

Specifically, the player was upset when Sam said … “I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.”

The player’s response — “As a bisexual man, I just feel like Michael Sam does not speak for all gay men.”

“He has his own opinion … but DON’T say that we don’t have the courage to come out. It’s totally wrong. Just speak for yourself. No one else.”

I think it goes without saying that if you’re accused of not having the courage to come out, and then you don’t while giving a news outlet an interview, you’ve basically proven Michael Sam right.

The unnamed player added that “the NFL isn’t ready for people to be open about it. Or the General Managers for that matter.”

Mr. Anonymous also threw out a final swipe at Sam, saying that he had his chance, but, “I just don’t think he performed well.”

Michael Sam Makes His Mark At First-Ever NFL Veteran Combine

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Today marked the first ever NFL Veteran Combine where 105 former NFL football players were given a chance to show their stuff in hopes of catching the eye of a team looking for talent.

Among those players was Michael Sam.

After coming out last year before the NFL draft, Sam saw his prospects drop from a possible third round pick to seventh round. As the 249th pick last year, Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams but cut on the last day before the regular season began. He was picked up for the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, but released after six weeks.

After months of training, today was Sam’s opportunity to show why he was the 2013 Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the SEC.

Cyd Zeigler of Outsports reports on Sam’s performance today:

The results of the Veteran Combine for Sam were mixed. His 40-yard-dash time was disappointing, at around five seconds. Yet I thought he looked a bit looser and more fluid in many of the drills. Interestingly, I overheard a scout say to someone else of another player who wasn’t Sam, “his 40 time wasn’t great but that really doesn’t matter.” It will be interesting to see if the media and teams afford Sam the same luxury.

NFL teams looking for reasons to not sign Sam will focus on that 40 time and his Rookie Combine performance. Teams looking to sign the most talented player will focus on Sam’s performance in the drills, his senior year at Missouri and his preseason with the Rams.

When asked about returning to the football field, Sam answered, “Whoever wants me.”

“Absolutely, I think my chances are high,” the 25-year-old defensive end said. “As long as I have that will to play the game and I am healthy, you’ll continue to see me trying to play in this league. I am very confident I will be playing football somewhere.”

Sam also acknowledged a standing offer he has from a Canadian football team. “If that’s the opportunity, I’ll take it. I’m a fighter and I’m going to keep fighting.”

Man. I want this for Sam so bad.

Michael Sam Invited To 1st NFL Veteran Combine

Michael Sam, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys and the St. Louis Rams, will participate in the first NFL Veteran Combine scheduled to take place on March 22nd in Tempe, AZ.

The veteran combine is a chance for veteran players who may have slipped through the cracks during their earlier time in the NFL.

Via Sporting News:

In 2013, Sam was named the SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year. Although he was projected to be a third- or fourth-round pick, Sam was selected final round and became the first openly gay player to be drafted. He was released by Rams in August after failing to survive the final preseason cuts. Sam joined the Cowboys’ practice squad in September but was waived just one month.

Sam was announced earlier this week as a cast member of the 10th season of Dancing With The Stars. Sam had indicated earlier that football is his first priority and the ABC TV show had already assured him their schedule would not interfere with his taking part in the Combine.

Should Sam leave the combine without a deal, he could still accept a one-year offer from the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes.

Out NFL PLayer Michael Sam Will Dance With The Stars

The cast of the 10th anniversary edition of Dancing With The Stars was announced today, and it includes out football player Michael Sam.

Television icon Suzanne Somers, music great Patti LaBelle, football star Michael Sam and Olympian Nastia Liukin are among the stars getting ready to rhumba and samba on the dance floor.

“Shark Tank” mogul Robert Herjavec, “Hunger Games” actress Willow Shields, artist-actress Rumer Willis, “Party Rock Anthem” singer Redfoo and R5 singer-songwriter Riker Lynch will also be vying for the trophy this season.

Sam posted this statement to his Facebook page today regarding DWTS:

Very excited to be a part of DWTS. Football remains my unquestioned number 1 priority, however, while I continue to train and stay ready, I am ecstatic to participate in a fun, athletic competition like so many players before me have done. Filming this offseason is very flexible and allows me to be part of the veterans combine 3/22 if accepted or any other workouts. I’m looking forward to getting started with @PetaMurgatroyd and winning! Thanks for the support! ‪#‎TeamSambatroyd‬

(h/t JMG)

Video: Michael Sam – One Year Later

Out pro-footballer Michael Sam has penned an op-ed for SI.com wherein he shares his thoughts on the past year as he became the first openly gay player in the NFL.

Deciding to publicly come out is a major moment in every gay person’s life, and nobody wants to be outed. So the reason I came out in the public way I did, in a nationally televised interview, was to ensure that I would again have a chance to tell my story on my own terms.

I don’t think I was prepared, nor could I possibly have been, for what happened next. So many people called me courageous, and some even called me a hero, while others told me that my announcement had given them inspiration and even helped them in their personal journeys. For the record, I don’t consider myself a hero or courageous. I was just being true to myself, but if that was enough to help some people through a difficult time in their lives, then I am very grateful to have been able to do so.

[snip]

I don’t believe that being gay has kept me off an NFL roster, but I will challenge anyone who says I don’t have the talent to make it in the league, and I will continue to push myself every single day and do whatever it takes until I can to earn another roster spot.

Read Sam’s full essay at SI.com.

And check out his interview with SI’s Robert Kiemko below:

One Year Ago Today – NFL Hopeful Michael Sam Comes Out

One year ago today, 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and NFL hopeful Michael Sam came out as gay.

On the day after the Super Bowl in 2014, Michael Sam came out. He was, at the time, predicted to be about number 90 in the upcoming NFL draft. Within hours of his announcement, he dropped from a 3rd round draft pick to a 5th round.

As history would show, on the third day of the draft, Sam was picked in the 7th round (#249) by the St. Louis Rams. He would eventually be cut right before the regular season began.

He was picked up by the Dallas Cowboys for their practice squad but released when their defensive line proved more capable than earlier suspected.

But it wasn’t Sam’s performance that was dogging him. Quite the opposite.

In the preseason with St. Louis he racked up 11 tackles and 3 sacks. Those 3 sacks ranked him 4th in the entire NFL.

His college career stats and achievements would seem to have made him a shoe-in for an NFL team.

From Outsports‘ Cyd Zeigler:

Sam is the only drafted Defensive Player of the Year of any of the big five football conferences – ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac 12 and SEC – in the last 20 years to not make an active roster his rookie season (one – Anthony Poindexter – was on IR his rookie season and played the following year for the Ravens). Two decades of drafted DPOYs since 1994, and Sam is the only one to not make an active roster – The only one of 89 players. 100% of them not named Michael Sam made an active roster their rookie season. 100%.

And yet, here we are today, a year later, and Sam is unemployed with no one from the NFL calling.

There really can be only one reason. The reason no one in the NFL wants to articulate, but it’s clear the NFL has a big problem with Sam being openly gay. Everyone would love to say there’s no issue with gay athletes in the NFL, but the bigotry exists. It’s there.

If you read Cyd’s detailed article he compares Sam’s stats to several players who are currently in the NFL. But Sam, sadly, is not.

I’ve championed this guy from day one. He’s not a wanna-be; he’s not a
hopeful; he’s the real deal. And more, no one denies his talent and
drive.

According to reports, Sam has applied for one of 100 spots at the new Veteran Combine set to take place on March 22nd. This is a new opportunity for some non-rookie players to show that perhaps they “fell through the cracks” along the way.

Outsports says Sam is training every day in preparation for the event. Fingers crossed he not only gets that chance, but his real shot at playing in the NFL.

Coca-Cola Teams Up With Michael Sam For Positive Message For Internet

Today, if you put yourself out there in the big, wide world, it’s very possible you’re going to encounter some trolls and haters. Folks who, because they feel safe in their parents basement behind a computer screen, think they have a right to comment, crucify and bring you down.

Michael Sam has experienced firsthand how the Internet has grown increasingly negative.

Watch as Sam teams up with Coca-Cola to channel negativity into positivity and provides great advice for how to #MakeItHappy.

Tune in to the 2015 Big Game to watch Coca-Cola’s commercial. More positive messages from Coke partners here.

NFL Addresses Domestic Violence In Chilling Super Bowl PSA

Whoa. Powerful.

The NFL and the No More campaign (which works to combat domestic violence and sexual assault) teamed up for this PSA to run during the Super Bowl.

The premise comes from a story shared on Reddit last year by a former police dispatcher who once took a call from a domestic abuse victim who pretended to order a pizza in order to get police to her home without tipping off her abuser.


(source)

Michael Sam NFL Jersey Outsells 2014 Number One Draft Pick

According to sales reports from sports retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods, out NFLer Michael Sam’s jersey outsold number one draft pick Jadeveon Clowney.

In full disclosure: Clowney sustained an early season injury which curtailed play time.

But good to know my man Sam was supported by his fans.

Check me wearing MY Michael Sam jersey this past August on the day the St. Louis Rams cut him at the end of the preseason.

Looking foward to seeing Sam on a regular roster in 2015.