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02/10/2014

If he's there, the Cowboys can't be afraid to draft Michael Sam

Few teams are more opened to media hassles than the Dallas Cowboys, and few teams need an edge pass rusher like the Cowboys.

DeMarcus Ware is a candidate to be cut, and Anthony Spencer is going to be a free agent. The Cowboys have a clear need at rush end. Michael Sam is 6-foot-2, 255 pounds, who in the SEC was an All-American.

UnknownWho cares if Michael Sam gay? The Cowboys were the worst defensive team ever in 2013, and they need talent. 

Sam is talented. And, nothing big here, the University of Missouri All-American defensive end told the New York Times he is gay. What former NBA center Jason Collins did to come out of the closet at the end of his career took courage, but not on this level.

Collins was at the end of his career, and he never found a gig after he came out. Not because he was gay, but because he was finished.

Sam is just about to begin his NFL career, has no idea if he can play in that league. He has no value in the NFL, other than as potential cheap talent. This announcement could potentially torpedo his pro football, six-figure career before it starts.

At a minimum, this changes his draft status, even if it should not. At least according to WalterFootball.com's mock draft, Sam is a second rounder.

According to this story on SI.com, a handful of NFL executives believe this will affect the way teams rate Sam on their draft board.

Mostly, teams are scared. Sam will be a huge story when he attends the NFL Combine at the end of the month, and you can bet every dollar you have ever seen a lot of those old time scouts and player personnel people will be plenty nervous in the interview room when they ask Sam about this.

Unknown-1They will be scared because of what a gay man in the locker room will do to "team chemistry", but a potentially bigger fear is the media. Sam will be an international story, and every outlet from Ellen to Time to Parade to South Dakota Gay Quarterly will be in rookie training camp to cover this barrier being broken.

Teams all love the money that so much media coverage helps generate, but they hate dealing with the hassle. In the short term, Sam's presence will be a major hassle.

The Cowboys need players, gay or straight. People would be naive to believe even half of the NFL players are going to be cool with this, despite their supportive rhetoric. But much like Jackie Robinson - you have to start somewhere. They'll get over it, and we can move on to the next stupid thing we can't get over.

Michael Sam is the one. He is going to need a team that needs him. The Cowboys need pass rushers. If the Cowboys rate Sam as a second rouder, and he's available, don't be afraid. He's just another gay dude. If he can play, and pressure the passer, that's all that matters. The rest is an excuse.

Twitter @MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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Comments

Davidmar

I'm not sure what the big deal is. In this day and age a person's sexuality should be a non-issue. If he can sack quarterbacks, then draft the dude.

Hootex

Is there some new rule that indicates one must announce his/her sexual orientation before being considered for anything? Who cares? I just don't understand. I don't hear people coming out for the NFL draft announcing they are straight? What gives?

Texdoc

Don't need another attention hound.

Gary Dickinson

In regards to opinion printed 2/11/14,I do not appreciate being labeled as an ignorant person because of Biblical beliefs.Everyone has right to choose lifestyle. butYou in the liberal media choose one to be a hero, and the other is ignorant because of prejudice and racism.75yearsliving/40yrs teachandcoach.Mediaopinions influenceyoung.Icall it an agenda

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