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Michael Sam football news update: says he's ready to face challenges in the NFL [VIDEO]

By Jay Cortez
on Feb 22, 2014 10:45 PM EST
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Michael Sam
Former Missouri DE and NFL Draft prospect Michael Sam's agent has denied a naked picture that has shown up on the internet is Sam. (Photo : Reuters)

The NFL's first openly gay draft prospect, Michael Sam, addressed the media on Saturday at the scouting combine and declared his readiness to discuss any issues that may hound him as a football player as well as his sexuality.

During the press conference, Sam recounted how he was received at halftime of a Missouri basketball game last weekend. ESPN.com quoted him as saying: "I went to a basketball game against Tennessee, a very kind lady gave it to me. I gave her a hug, I got a lot of support out there." During the game, the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

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The former Missouri defensive end was the co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Southeastern Conference. He said he is focused on preparing himself for the draft combine but also acknowledged his readiness to tackle any issues that may crop up.

"Heck yeah, I wish you guys would tell me, 'Michael Sam, how's football going?' " he said. "I would love for you to ask me that question, but it is what it is.

He continued: "And I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam, the football player, instead of Michael Sam, the gay football player."

When asked about the possibility of playing for the Miami Dolphins which was involved in a bullying scandal, he said: "If [the] Miami Dolphins drafted me, I would be excited to be a part of that organization. I'm not afraid about going into that environment. I know how to handle myself, I know how to communicate with my teammates, I know how to communicate with coaches ... and whoever I need to communicate with."

And if he is to be faced by a future teammate who is not cool about his sexuality, Sam said he: "If someone wants to call me a name, I will have a conversation with that guys and hopefully it won't lead to nothing else."

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