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Michael Sam is ‘nervous’ and ‘excited’ about this week’s NFL Draft

Michael Sam is ‘nervous’ and ‘excited’ about this week’s NFL Draft

Michael Sam is poised to make history this week as the first openly gay player in the NFL with the league beginning its annual draft on Thursday (8 May).

‘I’ve been thinking about this moment since junior year of college,’ Sam said in an interview Wednesday with Good Morning America. ‘It’s a very nervous time and a very exciting time. I’m ready for it.’

He added: ‘Where I go doesn’t matter as long as I get to play.’

While Sam is not expected to be a top pick, the league could face a major PR crisis if no teams choose him.

Sam himself is confident telling GMA’s Robin Roberts: ‘I’m here to stay – Michael Sam is here to stay.’

It was also announced during the GMA interview that Sam will be presented with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2014 ESPYs in July.

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, the widow of the late tennis star and AIDS activist, said of Sam’s selection: ‘Arthur always believed in and practiced leading by example. When Michael Sam announced that he is gay, he courageously stepped forward to engage an issue that still remains a pervasive problem in many professional sports. Michael has displayed true leadership both on and off the field.’

Sam’s coming out got so much attention because he was chosen defensive player of the year by the Southern Eastern Conference, the toughest conference in college football.

While Sam has gotten the Sports Illustrated cover and been thrust into the limelight, the University of Missouri star has heard from plenty of others not ready to take that bold step.

‘You know, on the night of my (February) announcement – that week I had gotten so many emails, so many text messages, from college and NFL players, and other athletes in the sport industry about how courageous I was,’ he said.

‘(They) themselves are closeted homosexuals,’ he said. ‘So yeah, I’m not the only one. There’s a lot of us.’