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Picking Sam, Rams welcome 1st openly gay player
NFL Draft Football Heal
In this image taken from video, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam cries as he talks on a mobile phone at a draft party in San Diego, after he was selected in the seventh round, 249th overall, by the St. Louis Rams in the NFL draft Saturday, May 10, 2014. The Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year last season came out as gay in media interviews this year. (AP Photo/ESPN) - photo by Associated Press

2014 NFL Draft

First Round
    1. Houston, Jadeveon Clowney, de, S. Carolina.
    2. St. Louis (from Washington), Greg Robinson, ot, Auburn.
    3. Jacksonville, Blake Bortles, qb, UCF.
    4. Buffalo (from Cleveland), Sammy Watkins, wr, Clemson.
    5. Oakland, Khalil Mack, lb, Buffalo.
    6. Atlanta, Jake Matthews, ot, Texas A&M.
    7. Tampa Bay, Mike Evans, wr, Texas A&M.
    8. Cleveland (from Minnesota), Justin Gilbert, db, Oklahoma State.
    9. Minnesota (from Buffalo through Cleveland), Anthony Barr, lb, UCLA.
    10. Detroit, Eric Ebron, te, North Carolina.
    11. Tennessee, Taylor Lewan, ot, Michigan.
    12. New York Giants, Odell Beckham, wr, LSU.
    13. St. Louis, Aaron Donald, dt, Pittsburgh.
    14. Chicago, Kyle Fuller, db, Virginia Tech.
    15. Pittsburgh, Ryan Shazier, lb, Ohio State.
    16. Dallas, Zach Martin, g, Notre Dame.
    17. Baltimore, C.J. Mosley, lb, Alabama.
    18. New York Jets, Calvin Pryor, db, Louisville.
    19. Miami, Ja'Wuan James, ot, Tennessee.
    20. New Orleans (from Arizona), Brandin Cooks, wr, Oregon State.
    21. Green Bay, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, db, Alabama.
    22. Cleveland (from Philadelphia), Johnny Manziel, qb, Texas A&M.
    23. Kansas City, Dee Ford, de, Auburn.
    24. Cincinnati, Darqueze Dennard, db, Michigan State.
    25. San Diego, Jason Verrett, db, TCU.
    26. Philadelphia (from Indianapolis through Cleveland), Marcus Smith, lb, Louisville.
    27. Arizona (from New Orleans), Deone Bucannon, db, Washington State.
    28. Carolina, Kelvin Benjamin, wr, Florida St.
    29. New England, Dominique Easley, de, Florida.
    30. San Francisco, Jimmie Ward, db, NIU
    31. Denver, Bradley Roby, db, Ohio State.
    32. Minnesota (from Seattle), Teddy Bridgewater, qb, Louisville.
Second Round
    33. Houston, Xavier Su'a-Filo, g, UCLA.
    34. Dallas (from Washington), Demarcus Lawrence, de, Boise State.
    35. Cleveland, Joel Bitonio, g, Nevada.
    36. Oakland, Derek Carr, qb. Fresno State.
    37. Atlanta, Ra'Shede Hageman, de, Minnesota.
    38. Tampa Bay, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, te, Washington.
    39. Jacksonville, Marqise Lee, wr, USC.
    40. Detroit (from Minnesota through Seattle), Kyle Van Noy, lb, BYU.
    41. St. Louis (from Buffalo), Lamarcus Joyner, db, Florida State.
    42. Philadelphia (from Tennessee), Jordan Matthews, wr, Vandrbilt.
    43. New York Giants, Weston Richburg, c, Colorado State.
    44. Buffalo (from St. Louis), Cyrus Kouandjio, ot, Alabama.
    45. Seattle (from Detroit), Paul Richardson, wr, Colorado.
    46. Pittsburgh, Stephon Tuitt, de, Notre Dame.
    47. Washington (from Dallas), Trent Murphy, lb, Stanford.
    48. Baltimore, Timmy Jernigan, dt, Florida St.
    49. New York Jets, Jace Amaro, te, Texas Tech.
    50. San Diego (from Miami), Jeremiah Attaochu, te, Georgia Tech.
    51. Chicago, Ego Ferguson, dt, LSU.
    52. Arizona, Troy Niklas, te, Notre Dame.
    53. Green Bay, Davante Adams, wr, Fresno St.
    54. Tennessee (from Philadelphia), Bishop Sankey, rb, Washington.
    55. Cincinnati, Jeremy Hill, rb, LSU.
    56. Denver (from Kansas City through San Francisco), Cody Latimer, wr, Indiana.
    57. San Francisco (from San Diego through Miami), Carlos Hyde, rb, Ohio State.
    58. New Orleans, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, db, Nebraska.
    59. Indianapolis, Jack Mewhort, g, Ohio State.
    60. Carolina, Kony Ealy, de, Missouri.
    61. Jacksonville (from San Francisco), Allen Robinson, wr, Penn State.
    62. New England, Jimmy Garoppolo, qb, Eastern Illinois.
    63. Miami (from Denver through San Francisco), Jarvis Landry, wr, LSU.
    64. Seattle, Justin Britt, ot, Missouri.
Third Round
    65. Houston, C.J. Fiedorowicz, te, Iowa.
    66. Washington, Morgan Moses, ot, Virginia.
    67. Miami (from Oakland), Billy Turner, ot, North Dakota State.
    68. Atlanta, Dezmen Southward, db, Wisconsin.
    69. Tampa Bay, Charles Sims, rb, West Virginia.
    70. San Francisco (from Jacksonville), Marcus Martin, c, Southern Cal.
    71. Cleveland, Christian Kirksey, lb, Iowa.
    72. Minnesota, Scott Crichton, de, Oregon St.
    73. Buffalo, Preston Brown, lb, Louisville.
    74. New York Giants, Jay Bromley, dt, Syracuse.
    75. St. Louis, Tre Mason, rb, Auburn.
    76. Detroit, Travis Swanson, c, Arkansas.
    77. San Francisco (from Tennessee), Chris Borland, lb, Wisconsin.   
    78. Washington (from Dallas), Spencer Long, g, Nebraska.
    79. Baltimore, Terrence Brooks, db, FSU.
    80. New York Jets, Dexter McDougle, db, Maryland.
    81. Oakland (from Miami), Gabe Jackson, g, Mississippi State
    82. Chicago, Will Sutton, dt, Arizona State.
    83. Houston (from Pittsburgh through Cleveland and Philadlephia), Louis Nix, dt, Notre Dame.
    84. Arizona, Kareem Martin, de, North Carolina.
    85. Green Bay, Khyri Thornton, de, Southern Mississippi.
    86. Philadelphia, Josh Huff, wr, Oregon.
    87. Kansas City, Phillip Gaines, db, Rice.
    88. Cincinnati, Will Clark, de, West Virginia.
    89. San Diego, Chris Watt, g, Notre Dame.
    90. Indianapolis, Donte Moncrief, wr, Mississippi.
    91. Arizona (from New Orleans), John Brown, wr, Pittsburg State.
    92. Carolina, Trai Turner, g, LSU.
    93. Jacksonville (from New England), Brandon Linder, g, Miami.
    94. Clevland (from San Francisco), Terrance West, rb, Towson.
    95. Denver, Michael Schofield, ot, Michigan.
    96. Minnesota (from Seattle), Jerick McKinnon, rb, Georgia Southern.
    97. x-Pittsburgh, Dri Archer, rb, Kent State.
    98. x-Green Bay, Richard Rodgers, te, California.
    99. x-Baltimore, Crockett Gillmore, te, Colorado State.
    100. x-San Francisco, Brandon Thomas, g, Clemson.
Fourth Round
    101. Philadelphia (from Houston), Jaylen Watkins, db, Florida.
    102. Washington, Bashaud Breeland, db, Clemson.
    103. Atlanta, Devonta Freeman, rb, FSU.
    104. New York Jets (from Tampa Bay), Jalen Saunders, wr, Oklahoma.
    105. New England (from Jacksonville), Bryan Stork, c, Florida State.
    106. San Francisco (from Cleveland), Bruce Ellington, wr, South Carolina.
    107. Oakland, Justin Ellis, dt, Louisiana Tech.
    108. Seattle (from Minnesota), Cassius Marsh, de, UCLA.
    109. Buffalo, Ross Cockrell, db, Duke.
    110. St. Louis, Maurice Alexander, db, Utah State.
    111. Cincinnati (from Detroit through Seattle), Russell Bodine, c, North Carolina.
    112. Tennessee, DaQuan Jones, dt, Penn St.
    113. New York Giants, Andre Williams, rb, Boston College.
    114. Jacksonville (from Baltimore), Aaron Colvin, db, Oklahoma.
    115. New York Jets, Shaquelle Evans, wr, UCLA.
    116. Oakland (from Miami), Keith McGill, db, Utah.
    117. Chicago, Ka'Deem Carey, rb, Arizona.
    118. Pittsburgh, Martavis Bryant, wr, Clemson.
    119. Dallas, Antony Hitchens, lb, Iowa.
    120. Arizona, Logan Thomas, qb, Virginia Tech.
    121. Green Bay, Carl Bradford, lb, Arizona State.
    122. Tennessee (from Philadelphia), Marqueston Huff, db, Wyoming.
    123. Seattle (from Cincinnati), Kevin Norwood, wr, Alabama.
    124. Kansas City, De'Anthony Thomas, rb, Oregon.
    125. Miami (from San Diego), Walt Aikens, db, Liberty.
    126. New Orleans, Khairi Fortt, lb, California.
    127. Cleveland (from Indianapolis), Pierre Desir, db, Lindenwood.
    128. Carolina, Tre Boston, db, North Carolina.
    129. San Francisco, Dontae Johnson, db, N.C. State.
    130. New England, James White, rb, Wisconsin.
    131. Chicago (from Denver), Brock Vereen, db, Minnesota.
    132. Seattle, Kevin Pierre-Louis, lb, Boston College.
    133. x-Detroit, Nevon Lawson, db, Utah St.
    134. x-Baltimore, Brent Urban, de, Virginia.
    135. x-Houston, Tom Savage, qb, Pittsburgh.
    136. x-Detroit, Larry Webster, de, Bloomsburg.
    137. x-New York Jets, Dakota Dozier, g, Furman.
    138. x-Baltimore, Lorenzo Taliaferro, rb, Coastal Carolina.
    139. x-Atlanta, Prince Shembo, lb, Notre Dame.
    140. x-New England, Cameron Fleming, ot, Stanford.
Fifth Round
    141. Philadelphia (from Houston), Taylor Hart, de, Oregon.
    142. Washington, Ryan Grant, wr, Tulane.
    143. Tampa Bay, Kadeem Edwards, g, Tennessee State.
    144. Jacksonville, Telvin Smith, lb, Florida St.
    145. Minnesota (from Cleveland), David Yankey, ot, Stanford.
    146. Dallas (from Oakland through Seattle and Detroit), Devin Street, wr, Pittsburgh.
    147. Atlanta, Ricardo Allen, db, Purdue.
    148. Carolina (from Minnesota), Bene' Benwikere, db, San Jose State.
    149. Tampa Bay (from Buffalo), Kevin Pamphile, ot, Purdue.
    150. San Francisco (from Detroit through Jacksonville, Aaron Lynch, de, South Florida.
    151. Tennessee, Avery Williamson, lb, Kentucky.
    152. New York Giants, Nat Berhe, db, San Diego State.
    153. Buffalo (from St. Louis), Cyril Richardson, g, Baylor.
    154. New York Jets, Jeremiah George, lb, Iowa St.
    155. Miami, Arthur Lynch, te, Georgia.
    156. Denver (from Chicago), Lamin Barrow, lb, LSU.
    157. Pittsburgh, Shaquille Richardson, db, Arizona.
    158. Detroit (from Dallas), Caraun Reid, dt, Princeton.
    159. Jacksonville (from Baltimore), Chris Smith de, Arkansas.
    160. Arizona, Ed Stinson, de, Alabama.
    161. Green Bay, Corey Linsley, c, Ohio State.
    162. Philadelphia, Ed Reynolds, db, Stanford.
    163. Kansas City, Aaron Murray, qb, Georgia.
    164. Cincinnati, A.J. McCarron, qb, Alabama.
    165. San Diego, Ryan Carrethers, db, Arkansas State.
    166. Indianapolis, Jonathan Newsome, lb, Ball St.
    167. New Orleans, Vinnie Sunseri, db, Alabma.
    168. Atlanta (from Carolina through Minnesota), Marquis Sprull, lb, Syracuse.
    169. New Orleans (from New England through Philadelphia), Ronald Powell, lb, Florida.
    170. San Francisco, Keith Reaser, db, FAU.
    171. Miami (from Denver through San Francisco), Jordan Tripp, lb, Montana.
    172. Seattle, Jimmy Staten, dt, Middle Tennessee.
    173. x-Pittsburgh, Wesley Johnson, ot, Vanderbilt.
    174. x-New York Giants, Devon Kennard, lb, Southern Cal.
    175. x-Baltimore, John Urschel, c, Penn State.
    176. x-Green Bay, Jared Abbrederis, wr, Wisconsin.
Sixth Round
    177. Houston, Jeoffrey Pagan, de, Alabama.
    178. Tennessee (from Washington), Zach Mettenberger, qb, LSU.
    179. New England (from Jacksonville), Jon Halapio, g, Florida.
    180. San Francisco (from Cleveland), Kenneth Acker, db, SMU.
    181. Houston (from Oakland), Alfred Blue, rb, LSU.
    182. Minnesota (from Atlanta), Antone Exum, db, Virginia Tech.
    183. Chicago (from Tampa Bay), David Fales, qb, San Jose State.
    184. Minnesota, Kendall James, db, Maine.
    185. Tampa Bay (from Buffalo), Robert Herron, wr, Wyoming.
    186. Washington (from Tennessee), Lache Seastrunk, rb, Baylor.
    187. New York Giants, Bennett Jackson, db, Notre Dame.
    188. St. Louis, E.J. Gaines, db, Missouri.
    189. Detroit, T.J. Jones, wr, Notre Dame.
    190. Miami, Matt Hazel, wr, Coastal Carolina.
    191. Chicago, Patrick O'Donnell, p, Miami.
    192. Pittsburgh, Jordan Zumwalt, lb, UCLA.
    193. Kansas City (from Dallas), Zach Fulton, g, Tennessee.
    194. Baltimore, Keith Wenning, qb, Ball State.
    195. New York Jets, Brandon Dixon, db, Northwest Missouri State.
    196. Arizona, Walter Powell, wr, Murray State.
    197. Green Bay, Demetri Goodson, db, Baylor.
    198. New England (from Philadelphia), Zach Moore, dt, Concordia, St. Paul.
    199. Seattle (from Cincinnati), Garrett Scott, ot, Marshall.
    200. Kansas City, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, ot, McGill.
    201. San Diego, Marlon Grice, rb, Arizona St.
    202. New Orleans, Tavon Rooks, ot, Kansas St.
    203. Indianapolis, Andrew Jackson, lb, Western Kentucky.
    204. Carolina, Tyler Gaffney, rb, Stanford.
    205. Jacksonville (from San Francisco), Luke Bowanko, c, Virginia.
    206. New England, Jemea Thomas, db, Georgia Tech.
    207. Denver, Matt Paradis, c, Boise State.
    208. Seattle, Eric Pinkins, db, San Diego State.
    209. x-New York Jets, Quincy Enunwa, wr, Nebraska.
    210. x-New York Jets, IK Enemkpali, lb, La Tech.
    211. x-Houston, Jay Prosch, rb, Auburn.
    212. x-Cincinnati, Marquis Flowers, lb, Arizona.
    213. x-New York Jets, Tajh Boyd, qb, Clemson.
    214. x-St. Louis, Garrett Gilbert, qb, SMU.
    215. x-Pittsburgh, Daniel McCullers, de, Tennessee.
Seventh Round
    216. Houston, Andre Hal, db, Vanderbilt.
    217. Washington, Ted Bolser, te, Indiana.
    218. Baltimore (from Cleveland), Michael Campanaro, wr, Wake Forest.
    219. Oakland, T.J. Carrie, db, Ohio.
    220. Minnesota (from Atlanta), Shamar Stephen, nt, UConn.
    221. Buffalo (from Tampa Bay), Randell Johnson, lb, FAU.
    222. Jacksonville, Storm Johnson, rb, UCF.
    223. Minnesota, Brandon Watts, lb, Georgia Tech.
    224. Philadelphia (from Buffalo), Beau Allen, dt, Wisconsin.
    225. Minnesota (from New York Giants through Carolina), Jabari Price, db, North Carolina.
    226. St. Louis, Michell Van Dyk, ot, Portland St.
    227. Seattle (from Detroit), Kiero Small, rb, Arkansas.
    228. Washington (from Tennessee), Zach Hocker, k, Arkansas.
    229. Detroit (from Chicago through Dallas), Nate Freese, k, Boston College.
    230. Pittsburgh, Rob Blanchflower, te, UMass.
    231. Dallas, Ben Gardner, de, Stanford.
    232. Indianapolis (from Baltimore), Ulrick John, ot, Georgia State.
    233. New York Jets, Trevor Reilly, lb, Utah.
    234. Miami, Terrence Fede, de, Marist.
    235. Oakland (from Arizona), Shelby Harris, de, Illinois.
    236. Green Bay, Jeff Janis, wr, Saginaw Valley St.
    237. Buffalo (from Philadelphia), Seantrel Henderson, ot, Miami.
    238. Dallas (from Kansas City), Will Smith, lb, Texas Tech.
    239. Cincinnati, James Wright, wr, LSU.
    240. San Diego, Tevin Reese, wr, Baylor.
    241. St. Louis (from Indianapolis), Christian Bryant, db, Ohio State.
    242. Denver (from New Orleans through San Francisco), Corey Nelson, lb, Oklahoma.
    243. San Francisco (from Carolina), Kaleb Ramsey, de, Boston College.
    244. New England, Jeremy Gallon, wr, Michigan.
    245. San Francisco, Trey Millard, rb, Oklahoma.
    246. Chicago (from Denver), Charles Leno, ot, Boise State.
    247. Oakland (from Seattle), Jonathan Dowling, db, Western Kentucky.
    248. x-Dallas, Ahmad Dixon, db, Baylor.
    249. x-St. Louis, Michael Sam, de, Missouri.
    250. x-St. Louis, Demetrius Rhaney, c, Tennessee State.
    251. x-Dallas, Ken Bishop, dt, Northern Illinois.
    252. x-Cincinnati, Lavelle Westbrooks, db, Georgia Southern.
    253. x-Atlanta, Yawin Smallwood, lb, UConn.
    254. x-Dallas, Terrance Mitchell, db, Oregon.
    255. x-Atlanta, Tyler Starr, lb, South Dakota.
    256. x-Houston, Lonnie Ballentine, db, Memphis.

NEW YORK — Michael Sam waited and waited. Hours passed, rounds came and went, and eventually, there were only eight more picks left on the third and final day of the NFL draft.

For just a moment, it looked as if his chance of being picked by a pro team and becoming the league's first openly gay player might take a detour. Or at least be delayed.

The call finally came in Saturday from the St. Louis Rams, the team right down the road from where Sam played his college ball at the University of Missouri.

Sam was selected in the seventh and final round and admitted it was a frustrating wait. He said teams that passed on him chickened out and he should have been drafted sooner.

"From last season alone, I should've been in the first three rounds. SEC Defensive Player of the Year, All-American," Sam said. He stopped short of directly saying his stock dropped in the draft because he came out.

"You know what, who knows? Who knows? Only the people who sit in the war room know," he said. "They saw Michael Sam, day after day they scratched it off the board. That was their loss. But St. Louis kept me on that board. And you know what I feel like I'm a (Jadeveon) Clowney, a first draft pick. I'm proud of where I am now."

Sam came out as gay in media interviews earlier this year. His team and coaches knew his secret and kept it for his final college season. He went on to have the best year of his career: He was the co-defensive player of the year in the nation's best college football conference and had 11.5 sacks.

The pick came after several rounds of suspense. The first round of the day, No. 4 overall, came and went, no Sam. Then the fifth and sixth, and finally, the day was down to just a handful of picks.

When Mike Kensil, the NFL's vice president of game operations, walked to the podium at Radio City Music Hall in the draft's final minutes to announce the Rams' second-to-last pick, the crowd got a sense something was up. Very few of the last day picks were announced at the podium. Twitter lit up with suggestions the Rams were about to make news.

When Kensil said: "The St. Louis Rams select ... Michael Sam..." the fans gave a hearty cheer, chanting "Yes! Yes! Yes!" and "Michael Sam!"

Sam was in San Diego watching with friends and family at the home of his agent, Joe Barkett of Empire Athletes. ESPN and the NFL Network had cameras there and showed Sam's reaction.

Sam was on the phone bending over, with his boyfriend hugging him and rubbing his left bicep. When Sam got off the phone, the tears started. He gave his boyfriend a big kiss and a long hug as he cried and his eyes reddened. After, they shared cake — and another kiss.

"Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis. I'm using every once of this to achieve greatness!!" Sam tweeted with a frenzied typo moments after he was picked, with a picture of himself wearing a Rams cap and a pink polo shirt.

The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Sam was considered a mid-to-late round pick, far from a sure thing to be drafted. He played defensive end in college, but he's short for that position in the NFL and slower than most outside linebackers, the position he'll need to transition to at the professional level.

He was taken with the 249th overall pick out of 256. Players from Marist, Maine and McGill University in Canada were selected before Sam.

"In the world of diversity we live in now, I'm honored to be a part of this," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said during an interview on ESPN.

The NFL had no comment on Sam being drafted.

The impact of Sam's selection goes far beyond football. At a time when gay marriage is gaining acceptance among Americans, Sam's entry into the NFL is a huge step toward the integration of gay men into professional team sports. Pro sports have in many ways lagged behind the rest of society in acceptance.

"Michael Sam wouldn't have been drafted five years ago," said former Viking punter Chris Kluwe, who has accused Minnesota of cutting him in part because of his vocal support for gay rights.

In the last year, NBA veteran Jason Collins has come out publicly as gay, and is now playing for the Brooklyn Nets. Collins said before the Nets' playoff game against the Heat that he was watching the draft and texted Sam after he was picked.

"It's a great day for Michael and his family and for the NFL," Collins said.

Publicly, most people in and related to the NFL have been supportive of Sam. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said Sam would be welcome in the league and judged solely on his ability to play. A few wondered whether teams would be reluctant to draft Sam because of all the media attention that would come with it.

Fair or not, the NFL — coming off a season in which a bullying scandal involving players on the Miami Dolphins was one of the biggest stories in sports — was looking at a possible public relations hit if Sam was not drafted. He would likely have been signed as a free agent and given a chance to make a team in training camp, but to many it would have looked as if he was being rejected.

Now that he's there, it could be seen as an opportunity for the NFL to show that crass locker room culture is not as prevalent as it might have looked to those who followed the embarrassing Dolphins scandal. But all the reaction to Sam's news wasn't positive from the league.

Miami safety Don Jones posted a one-word tweet, "Horrible" shortly after Sam was drafted. It was later taken down. The team's manager said he was aware, and was disappointed.

Wade Davis, a gay former NFL player who is now the executive director of the gay rights advocacy group "You Can Play," said that Sam only needs to do his job to have an impact beyond the field.

"Michael Sam doesn't have to be a vocal advocate (for gay rights)," Davis said. "His visibility is his advocacy."