The National Football League could have its first openly gay player as University of Missouri graduate Michael Sam comes out as gay, three months before going into the NFL draft.

Sam interviewed by ESPN, The New York Times, and Outsports which released on Sunday. Sam said that he came out to his coaches and teammates in August and decided to come out now on his. Therefore, it became an issue as recruiters interview him.

In discussing the magnitude of his announcement, Sam said, “I understand how big this is. It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be … I want to be a football player in the NFL.”

Sam said that received support from his teammates

The 6-foot-tall, 255-pound defensive-end lead the Southeastern Conference in sacks and tackles. Sam was named the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year for 2013.

Sam will participate in the NFL combine later this month in Indianapolis and is currently projected to be a mid-round draft pick in May. 

If signed to an NFL contract Sam will be the first openly gay active football player and one of a few openly gay athletes in professional sports.

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