Can Michael Sam Be a Football Great?

Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams and it’s been a big deal since he’s the first openly gay player to be drafted. But, does he have a chance to play and compete for a spot on the roster?

Sam was formally introduced by the Rams at a press conference Tuesday and he thanked his coaches for the opportunity they gave him to be on the team.

Sam said that he feels blessed to play there.

That must be a great feeling. Sam has been given a chance to live out his dream and play in the NFL. For me, the looming question remains. Are the Rams really giving him an opportunity or setting him up to fail?

He was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 so there is no doubt that he’s talented. But as a seventh-round pick, there’s almost no chance of him making the roster. Not all rookies play right away, I get that. But it’s unclear how he will be treated by fans and coaches at this point. It’s too early to tell if he will get a fair chance just like any other player.

Sam insists that he’s “determined to be great” and he wants to train hard to make the team.

Luckily for him, he’s already considered a role model off the field. He’s opened doors for athletes just like him who struggle with making the decision to be open about their sexuality with family and friends. He sends the message that it is completely okay to be who you are.

I appreciate his message and I’m happy for him. I just wonder if his success off the field can translate on the field. Can he be a football great or will he forever be regarded as the gay football player that the Rams took a chance on?

Whatever becomes of his career, he’s definitely making strides in the right direction.