Lewand, Lions applaud Michael Sam for coming out

Michael Sam is an All-American defensive end from Missouri who was named the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year last season.

Denny Medley/Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand says the NFL club "applauds" Michael Sam for his decision to reveal publicly that he’s an "openly, proud gay man."

Lewand released a statement Monday afternoon concerning Sam’s announcement.

"As an organization and football team, the Detroit Lions place the highest priority on inclusiveness and diversity," Lewand said. "We applaud Michael Sam for his courage and proactive approach, and we will evaluate him, like every player, based solely on his ability to help the Lions win football games."

Sam is an All-American defensive end from Missouri who was named the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year last season. He projects as an outside linebacker in the NFL and a possible mid- to late-round draft pick.