My guess is Michael Sam fell two to four rounds in the draft because he is openly gay.
And that's exactly what it is. Four rounds though? Sam fell four rounds? I don't know at what point over the past few months he was going to go in the third round, but I missed this completely.
I know he’s a ‘‘tweener’’ — at 6-2, 261, he’s small for an NFL defensive end, and with ‘‘stiff hips’’ and a bad 4.91 40 time, too immobile for a pass-covering outside linebacker.
"Sure, he doesn't have the physical characteristics that teams look for in a defensive end, but that doesn't explain at all why he wasn't drafted by a league that over-relies on physical characteristics to determine whether a player will succeed in their league or not."
Yes, he did run a much better 4.73 40 at his University of Missouri pro day. And he increased his vertical jump 5 inches. And he tipped in 2 pounds heavier at 263 pounds.
Those still aren't the ideal numbers for a player who is a defensive end/outside linebacker in the NFL. Unfortunately, that's the bottom line. Jackson Jeffcoat was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, ran a 4.63 40 time and was 6'3" and 247 pounds at the Combine. He didn't get drafted at all. So it's not like there isn't a precedent for guys like Sam to not get drafted even after they have won postseason defensive awards in a major football conference.
But weaknesses and in-between stuff aside, getting drafted in the seventh round as the 249th player selected, well, that’s about as blatant a statement as you could have about him being gay and out.
Yes, if you ignore all of the football-related reasons that Sam didn't get drafted until the 7th round then he definitely didn't get drafted because he is gay and out. It's just like if you ignore all of the football-related reasons that Teddy Bridgewater did get drafted, he was totally taken in the first round because he's not gay. It's very obvious.
Maybe Sam is useless. Maybe he’s a first-wave cut.
Maybe he's not. Maybe he will make the teams who passed on him regret doing so. That's the good thing about professional sports. Sam will get an opportunity to show the other teams they made a mistake. No need to cry for him.
But this guy was an All-American, the co-defensive player of the year in the SEC, which is the toughest conference in the land, a man who had three three-sack games. He was liked by his teammates, played all-out — and did I mention the triple-triple sack stat? NFL teams covet sacks the way squirrels covet acorns.
Jackson Jeffcoat had 13 sacks and he was not drafted at all. He also plays in a major conference where he was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. There has been no indication he is not straight. How can the fact he wasn't drafted be explained?
Sam almost didn’t get drafted. There were only seven picks after him. The last dude in the draft is called ‘‘Mr. Irrelevant.’’ What if that had been Sam? Problem on so many levels.
I'm sure Michael Sam would take great offense to this since he wants to be treated like every other NFL player. To get offended because he's "Mr. Irrelevant," as if this is in some way a commentary on his status as openly gay man is a little bit nit-picky. It would only have been a problem if it were made to be into something that it wasn't.
But here’s the deal: Sam passionately and weepily kissed his boyfriend after being chosen, and if you weren’t taken aback a little at the sight of it, you’re not being honest.
Such an image has never occurred before in the long annals of the macho NFL. It made one pause. Think. Reflect. Ponder.
It was like seeing a woman swim from Cuba to Key West. Like watching Stephen Hawking write a best-seller. Like observing a black man win the presidency.
Life is not a reality show. Unless citizens want it to be. Michael Sam should not want it to be.
Sam has not done many interviews. Which is good.
The Rams do not need to start waving the rainbow flag. Nobody needs to change what they do.
Yet the Rams could be hooking into a large and powerful crowd if it snags the gay and lesbian sports fans, or just all the interested folks, the ones who have made Sam’s Rams jersey the second-best seller among rookies (behind only Manziel’s Browns jersey, but ahead of All-Universe Jadeveon Clowney’s Texans jersey).
The political-correctness police need to calm down, too.
The ones who turned possibly senile (according to Barbara Walters and his wife) Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling into the apotheosis of racism have to crank their jets down about five notches.
It’s crazy that Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones tweeted ‘‘OMG’’ and ‘‘horrible’’ after seeing Sam’s kiss —and then was fined and suspended for it.
So you’re in the locker room, in the shower with him. A gay man.