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Let Sam change NFL

"Productive defender."

"Solid size."

"Long limbs."

These are a few words that described Michael Sam in his 2009 recruit scouting report, according to

But when the 2014 NFL Draft rolls around in mid-May, another phrase will describe the ex-University of Missouri defensive end.

Michael Sam is gay.

If Sam is drafted in May, he will become the first openly gay player in pro-football history.

Over the course of his four seasons at Missouri, Sam accumulated 111 tackles, 18.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and two interceptions.

Sam has proven during his four years of college that he is ready for the next level of his career. Before his big announcement Sunday, Sam was a sure lock to be anywhere from third - to a fourth-round selection.

However, if there is one thing that looms much larger than Sam's historic statement, it is ignorance.

We have heard over the past couple years some players' and executives' takes on having an openly gay man in the locker room, with some responses not all that forward-thinking.

The big storyline for this year's draft will now be which team is willing to take that leap first.

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Some question if Sam's announcement was premature.

Should he have waited until after he was drafted to break the news?

I say absolutely not.

I applaud Sam and his decision to break the barrier.

Sam is a lot of things. Yes, he is gay, but more importantly, he is a football player, a defensive end (a good one at that), but overall, and the only thing that matters, Michael Sam is a man; a man no different from anyone else currently in the league.

David Heim is a sophomore journalism major from Roselle Park, N.J. He can be reached at


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