The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Rams confident Michael Sam's the right fit, that this is the right time

  • Print

ST. LOUIS - Rams coach Jeff Fisher was on the telephone with owner Stan Kroenke two picks before taking Michael Sam.

Fisher got the go-ahead. And the Rams took the plunge on a player who will forever be known as the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

Not long after Sam made his announcement, Fisher said he'd have absolutely no problem coaching Sam. He proudly made the pick.

"We're in an age of diversity. Players understand that, they know that," Fisher said Saturday as the league was buzzing with the historic pick. "People will try to make it a distraction but it's not a distraction."

The Rams drafted Sam based on the Missouri star's ability — and with confidence they're ready for the sideshow that surely will follow. Rookies report on Monday ahead of a rookie minicamp later in the week.

Fisher and general manager Les Snead didn't check with players before making the pick. So far they haven't been disappointed with expectations Sam would be welcomed with open arms, just like any other new teammate.

The timing is right, he believes, just as it was when Sam told Missouri teammates he was gay before the start of fall drills and there were zero leaks.

"I'm sure it was a very, very difficult thing for him to do," the coach said. "I would also submit it was probably a tremendous load off his shoulders."

If problems develop, Fisher said, he'll nip them in the bud. But none are anticipated.

"Hey, are there going to be idiots out there and say some stupid stuff? Yeah," Sam said in a conference call with St. Louis reporters. "I'm not worried about that."

So far, Sam has been deluged with congratulatory texts and tweets from teammates and around the league.

Teammate Robert Quinn, a defensive lineman, tweeted: "Welcome to the squad @MikeSamFootball #D-LineShowtime."

The Rams are getting viewed as pioneers.

"I welcome any person like Michael Sam into the NFL, just like I'd welcome every other football player that got drafted," Bills general manager Doug Whaley said.

"It was exciting to see that emotion but also see that he went to a good football team," Broncos GM John Elway said. "Obviously, they thought that Michael was going to fit them very well."

Prominent teammates weighed in, promising smooth sailing.

Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said players just want somebody to help them become a contender in the rugged NFC West. He's pointed out in the past that every locker room is a mixture of personalities and belief systems that find harmony in pursuit of a common goal.

The Rams had the next pick after taking Sam, adding Tennessee State centre Demetrius Rhaney to considerably less fanfare with pick No. 250.

"Michael Sam, he's like a brother now," Rhaney said. "That's my teammate, I can't wait to meet him, and let's get the ball rolling."

Instead of a guy getting picked at the end of the draft, Sam said the news made him feel as if he were Jadeveon Clowney basking in the glory of going first overall. At least from within, Sam's toughest challenge will be finding a niche on a team loaded with defensive line talent.

General manager Les Snead referred to Sam as a DPR — designated pass rusher. At 261 pounds he's considered a tweener, a major reason he wasn't considered a top-end NFL prospect.

The Rams have a good pass rush already. Quinn was second in the NFL with 19 sacks last year and he, fellow end Chris Long and tackle Michael Brockers are all former first-round picks.

"Well, it's going to be very competitive for him, as it will be for some of the other guys — the later picks," Fisher said

If Sam can't make it, despite the negative fanfare it might produce, Fisher said it won't be difficult to cut him.

"I would say no because we picked him within the process and we're going to reduce this roster within the process," he said. "So, I don't see that being an issue."



AP NFL website: and

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Key of Bart - Take It Easy

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE APORIUS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS BUSINESS - cow on farm owned by cattle farmer Lloyd Buchanan near Argyle Wednesday afternoon -see Larry Kusch's story  January 04/2006
  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


How surpised are you by the Bombers’ 4-1 start to the season?

View Results

Ads by Google