Earth City, Mo. – Michael Sam has once again made history and is now the first-ever openly gay player in the NFL. The University of Missouri-Columbia MVP was drafted in May by the St. Louis Rams and was signed June 12, along with the entire 2014 draft class.
Through a tweet on June 12, the Rams organization announced that it had signed all 11 players selected by the team in the 2014 NFL draft, including Sam. A first-team All-American defensive lineman from the University of Missouri, Sam signed a four-year, $2.65 million contract, with $46,000 of it guaranteed, reported Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. All of the Rams’ rookie signees went through some financial education before signing their deals.
“With the new rookie cap and everything it’s really not difficult to get the deals done,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said via Nick Wagoner of ESPN. “So we just felt like this time would be better served putting them in situations from an educational standpoint, financial planning, those kind of things. We’ve done a lot of that.”
Sam came out during interviews with ESPN and The New York Times in February after completing an impressive season at Missouri. He was selected by the Rams with the 249th overall pick in the draft in May.
While many believed that Sam, who had been named the 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, fell in the draft because he had announced that he was gay, he did not seem deterred by being the eighth-to-last selection of the 2014 NFL Draft in April.
In his first press conference with the Rams, Sam made his aim clear.
“I’m determined to be great,” he told reporters.
The 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year recorded 11 1/2 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss in his senior season at Missouri and is expected to compete for a reserve role on a Rams team well-stocked along the defensive line.
No. 2 pick Greg Robinson, a 6-foot-5 offensive lineman from Auburn, started all 14 games last season and blocked for a running attack that set program records for rushing yards and touchdowns.
Running back Tre Mason, taken by the Rams in the third round and also signed June 12, was a big part of that Auburn attack.
The other eight players signed were defensive tackle Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh), defensive back Lamarcus Joyner (Florida State), safety Mo Alexander (Utah State), cornerback E.J. Gaines (Missouri), quarterback Garrett Gilbert (SMU), offensive tackle Mitchell Van Dyk (Portland State), safety C.B. Bryant (Ohio State) and center Demetrius Raney (Tennessee State).