Michael Sam had to call an audible after word began to spread at January’s Senior Bowl about his upcoming announcement.
Sam originally planned to announce he is gay after May’s 2014 NFL draft. But to prevent someone else from breaking the news, Sam decided to come out on Sunday night.
“I think the timing of Mike’s announcement was really based off of the reactions that we’ve received the last few weeks from not only front-office personnel, but journalists, as well,” Sam’s agent, Joe Barkett, said on NFL Network’s NFL A.M. “When we were in Mobile for the Senior Bowl, Michael was being approached by people left and right by people trying to break his story, and it was something Mike wanted to do after the draft originally. Then we kind of regrouped and discussed if Mike would still be able to do it on his terms at that point in time. And Mike and the rest of us felt that now this time was a little more appropriate where he could take control of the situation instead of being forced to tell his story after somebody else had broken it.”
Sam told his Missouri teammates last August that he’s gay. The majority of NFL teams knew about Sam’s sexual preference before his announcement.
Sam was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, when he recorded 11.5 sacks for the Tigers. He is expected to be selected in the 2014 NFL draft anywhere between the third and fifth round.