The NFL has been ready for Michael Sam for decades

Good Afternoon, Broncos fans! Hmm, anything happening in the NFL today?

Oh, right - SEC DPOY and former Missouri DE Michael Sam publicly revealed in an interview with ESPN that he is gay.

The All-American came out to his college teammates and coaches last summer, but all that did was confirm something they had already known all along.

If and when Sam is drafted and/or signed, he will be the league's first openly gay player.

Said Missouri coach Gary Pinkel in a statement:

We're really happy for Michael that he's made the decision to announce this, and we're proud of him and how he represents Mizzou. Michael is a great example of just how important it is to be respectful of others, he's taught a lot of people here first-hand that it doesn't matter what your background is, or your personal orientation, we're all on the same team and we all support each other.

The NFL released a supportive statement:

We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.

Here's what old friend and current NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth had to say:

I know that the union will accept him with open arms, as will our players.

Plenty of support for Sam could be found online - from his Mizzou teammates, current NFL players, HOFers (including Shannon Sharpe), retired NFLers who came out after retirement, and gay athletes from other sports.


Favorite questions from homophobes tend to go thusly:

Why does he have to say he's gay? Why can't he keep it to himself?

Well, it appears that many in the NFL were already aware of Sam's sexuality.

And it also appears that if he hadn't spoken up, someone else might have broken the story in their own way.

Presumably, it doesn't take a whole lot of empathy to understand why one might prefer to maintain at least some control over how something so personal becomes so public.

But how is it going to affect the locker room? What about the showers, ZOMG?!?!

Knowing Sam is gay didn't appear to have a negative impact on the 2013 Missouri Tigers, as the team's #5 ranking, 12-2 record, Cotton Bowl win, and the vocal support from his teammates should attest.

Mind you, this is a team that had gone just 5-7 a year earlier, or prior to Sam's having come out to his teammates and coaches.

And by the way, those teammates voted Sam their MVP for the season.

Facilitated by Peter King not even bothering to ask him to speak on record, one anonymous GM thinks an openly gay player would be okay in about a decade.

Of course, the problem with Mr. Anonymous GM's claim is that openly gay players weren't a problem in the 1960s or 1990s, so why would they be now?


As for his on-field prospects, Todd McShay and Bucky Brooks see the 6-1, 260-pounder as being taken between rounds three and five, while Nolan Nawrocki (same link) thinks his best fit may be as an outside linebacker for Pittsburgh or Baltimore.

However, Russ Lande thinks Sam lacks the pass-rush skills to succeed there, and Mike Tanier sees him as a mid-to-late-rounder.

Drew Magary worries whether Sam will get drafted at all.


Broncos

According to Mike Klis, Chris Harris is likely to receive only a second-round tender rather than a first-, owing to his ACL injury, which was successfully repaired last week.

Jeff Legwold says former Denver offensive assistant Jim Bob Cooter is seen as a future playcaller in the NFL.

Meanwhile, does anyone have the energy to bother debating Legwold's grades for each of Denver's offensive players? Not us...

According to the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective, the likelihood of a blowout in SB 48 was only about 1%.

News

A bipartisan letter from two members of Congress suggests the Washington franchise change its blatantly racist team name, or risk the NFL losing its (ridiculous) status as a tax-exempt non-profit organization.

Washington hired Doug Williams (yes, that one) as a personnel exec.

Analysis

Mike Tanier sees five teams (Tampa Bay, Philly, Miami, Indy, Cleveland) as on their way up, with four others (New Orleans, Arizona, Dallas, Pittsburgh) facing trouble ahead.

Eric Edholm discusses Jacksonville's offseason issues, Frank Schwab and Ryan Wilson look at Cleveland's, and Robert Weintraub weighs Atlanta's.

Jason Fitzgerald examines the biggest names among running backs set to hit free agency.

The PFF guys consider the free agency prospects of Patriots Julian Edelman and Aqib Talib.

Chase Stuart puts the Chiefs' epic playoff meltdown into historical context among great postseason QB battles.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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