- The Washington Times - Monday, May 12, 2014

The NFL’s first openly gay player, Michael Sam, stopped just short Sunday of saying his sexuality is the reason he was the seventh-to-last pick in this year’s draft.

“From last season alone, I should’ve been in the first three rounds. SEC Defensive Player of the Year, All-American,” Sam said during a conference call, CBS St. Louis reported.

The Rams selected the former University of Missouri defensive standout with the 249th overall pick in the seventh and final round of the draft.

“I knew I was going to get picked somewhere. Every team that passed me, I was thinking how I’m going to sack their quarterback,” he said.

Sam didn’t outrightly express that he believes he was picked over because of his sexuality, but he accused the other teams of being too scared to select him, CBS reported.

“They saw Michael Sam, day after day they scratched it off the board,” he said. “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.”

Rams coach Jeff Fisher told ESPN over the weekend: “In the world of diversity we live in now, I’m honored to be a part of this and I’m excited about his opportunity to help this football team win.”

“People try to make it a distraction, but it’s not a distraction. I’m personally proud of him for coming out,” he said.

President Obama congratulated Sam on Saturday for being the first openly gay football player drafted by an NFL team.

“From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are,” the president said.

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