UK & World News

  • 11 May 2014, 8:37

First Openly Gay Player Picked In NFL Draft

Michael Sam has become the first openly gay player to be selected in a National Football League Draft.

The defensive end from the University of Missouri was taken in the seventh round by the St Louis Rams at the three-day draft in New York.

If Sam makes the team's 53-man regular season roster this summer he will become the first openly gay player to compete in the NFL.

Sam, who came out in February, was captured on camera receiving the call telling him he had been selected as the 249th pick out of 256.

The 24-year-old broke into tears and began shaking.

Sam posted afterwards on his Twitter account: "Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis. I'm using every ounce of this to achieve greatness!!"

The 6ft 2in Sam led the Southeastern Conference last year in sacks and tackles for a loss and was named co-defensive player of the year.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher told ESPN: "In a world of diversity we live in now, I'm honoured to be a part of this and excited about his opportunity to help this football team win."

Fisher added he was not worried about the added media attention drafting Sam will bring.

"We drafted a good football player," he said.

"I'm excited to get him on the practice field and get him going.

"There's going to be a little extra attention for a couple of days but ... we're looking forward to this opportunity."

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