Michael Sam still has a lot of work to do before he can be the first openly gay player to play in an NFL regular season game, but so far he is fitting in well with the St. Louis Rams.
"It's very positive, it's very fun," Sam told the Associated Press at the NFL rookie symposium in Berea, Ohio. "I'm excited to be playing for the Rams, I'm excited to be in the NFL."
Training camp starts for the Rams July 24 and Sam has said he has to step up his game in order to be one of the 53 players to make the roster. Two weeks ago, the seventh-round draft pick from Missouri signed a four-year contract worth $2.3 million if he plays all four years. He is guaranteed a signing bonus of $46,000 and will earn $431,474 in 2014 if he makes the Rams opening day roster this September.
According to other rookies at the symposium, they see Sam, a defensive lineman, as just another player, notwithstanding his historic role.
"You don't see anyone not talking to him or against him," said guard Greg Robinson, Sam's teammate in St. Louis and the second overall pick in April's draft. "They look at him as a football player." ...
"Just know someone's story before you judge them. That's pretty much what it comes down to," said Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans. "He's a normal guy, just like us. Just here to play football."
Sam is also quickly becoming known for his sense of humor.
"The Rams love him," Evans said. "They always joke around with him. He seems like a fun-loving guy."
At the symposium, Sam is meeting NFL Hall of Famers in addition to rookies and earlier today he tweeted this:
It was a great honor to listen to these two legends of the game. Thank you for the advice Warren Sapp and Chris C. pic.twitter.com/4AuIXXuVeS— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) June 25, 2014
Sam says he is being treated "like a rookie" which is exactly the best thing for him now. The initial hubbub over him being drafted has died down and now his biggest challenge is making the team.