This is Michael Sam, during a November game against Ole Miss. The 24-year-old NFL hopeful announced Sunday that he is gay, making him potentially the first openly out player in the NFL.
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Celebrating with fans
Here, Michael Sam celebrates with fans after a game against Kentucky on Nov. 9. Messages of support from the Missouri community and beyond flowed in after Sunday's announcement.
Getty ImagesJoe Robbins
Star defensive lineman
Sam was no no-name before Sunday. He was a first team All-American in 2013 and took home co-Defensive Player of the Year honors in the SEC.
Getty ImagesDilip Vishwanat
Sam is congratulated by defensive lineman Lucas Vincent after sacking Florida Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy during their game this season. Sam says he told his teammates he was gay at a preseason meeting before last season.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY SportsDenny Medley
Sam led the SEC in sacks (11 1/2) and tackles for loss (19) during a dominant senior season in 2013.
Getty ImagesGrant Halverson
Right for the NFL?
Sam was a defensive lineman at Missouri, but his relatively small size could take him out of that position in the pros, with some scouts saying he projects more as an outside linebacker.
Getty ImagesChristian Petersen
Sam's NFL future will be determined at May's draft, but will an openly gay player be accepted in the pro locker room? The league has grappled with the question a lot in recent years, and many players have voiced their doubts over whether it would be so.