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Football Hall of Famers Barry Sanders and others: Michael Sam will be welcomed in the NFL

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Barry Sanders, Harry Carson, Bobby Mitchell and Michael Haynes talked about Michael Sam and the acceptance of a gay NFL player.

Barry Sanders talked about Michael Sam and gay NFL players.
Barry Sanders talked about Michael Sam and gay NFL players.
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Continuing the chorus of voices setting the record straight about the evolved culture in the NFL, various Pro Football Hall of Famers said this weekend openly gay NFL prospect Michael Sam will be accepted by his team and the league. They join other Hall of Famers like Aeneas Williams and Michael Irvin (video below) who have shared similar thoughts.

Hall of Fame linebacker Harry Carson played with Roy Simmons three decades ago in the 1980s; He said even back then, Simmons would have been protected by team leaders if he had told them he was gay:

There was some speculation that Roy was gay. That never swayed anyone's opinion of him, the way that he played the game. It's something he lived with, but he didn't necessarily have to live with that by himself because he had teammates that were guys that supported him. He never said anything. We're a team, and guys on the team, they're going to support their teammate regardless of how they choose to live their life. I was a captain on that team and would have made certain that nothing would have happened; not on my watch.

ESPN had this about comments from Barry Sanders:

Sanders said most players, from the time they begin playing football, are ingrained with a single-minded focus that largely prevents them from worrying about what might take place outside the confines of the football field.

"That's well-ingrained in you," Sanders said. "I'm pretty sure that every guy in this league has been around gay individuals before. So I don't think that'll be much different."

Michael Sam will be drafted by an NFL team later this week. The draft will be aired on ESPN and the NFL Network, May 8-10.