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Combine Storylines: Sam Speaks

By David Seigerman




Michael Sam wants to be judged as a football player; he'll get that chance at the Combine over the next few days. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images.
Michael Sam wants to be judged as a football player; he'll get that chance at the Combine over the next few days. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images.


Be careful what you wish for, Michael Sam.

"I wish you would see me as Michael Sam the football player, not Michael Sam the gay football player."

While the national media remains fascinated by the prospect of covering Sam's groundbreaking story, Sam's sexual identity is about to take a backseat to a series of other distinctions that will help define him in the eyes of NFL decision makers.

In fact, it started on Saturday, when Sam took to the tape and the scale and confirmed what we already know: he's a 6-foot-2, 262-pound tweener. To Sam, that's more of a slur than any homophobic ignorance he'll be forced to face.

"I'm a pass rusher," said Sam. "If you put me in a situation to get the quarterback, I'm gonna get the quarterback."

That's exactly what he is. He's a pass rusher with a quick first step and impressive closing speed. That about sums up Sam as a football player. 

He's a bit short to be an every down defensive end in a 4-3 front. And he lacks the other skills necessary to play outside linebacker in a 3-4. 

In the end, Sam will get exactly what he asked for. He will be judged not as a gay football player but as a one-dimensional one. It's a good dimension to possess, as there will always be a role for a situational speed rusher. Still, it's not something too many teams will consider spending a first- or second-day pick to procure.