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Missouri All-American Michael Sam says he is gay, and the defensive end could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 Buy . In interviews with ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports that were published Sunday, Sam said he came out to all his teammates and coaches at Missouri in August. "I am an openly, proud gay man," he said. Sam will participate in the NFL combine later this month in Indianapolis and is currently projected to be a mid-round draft pick in May. "Its a big deal. No one has done this before. And its kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be ... I want to be a football player in the NFL," he told ESPN. The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Sam participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., last month after leading the Southeastern Conference in sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (19). He was the SEC defensive player of the year. There have been a few NFL players who have come out after their playing days, including Kwame Harris and Dave Kopay. Last year, NBA player Jason Collins announced he was gay after the season. Collins, a 35-year-old backup centre, was a free agent when he came out and has not signed with a new team this season. MLS star and U.S. national team player Robbie Rogers also came out a year ago. "His courage will inspire millions to live their truth," Rogers tweeted about Sam. Division III Willamette kicker Conner Mertens, a redshirt freshman, said last month he was bisexual. "We admire Michael Sams honesty and courage," the NFL said in statement. "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." Sams announcement comes at a time gay rights issues and sports have collided at the Olympics in Sochi. Russias anti-gay law has received much attention, and criticism, because of the games. "By rewriting the script for countless young athletes, Michael has demonstrated the leadership that, along with his impressive skills on the field, makes him a natural fit for the NFL," said Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, a leading lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender media advocacy organization. "With acceptance of LGBT people rising across our coasts -- in our schools, churches, and workplaces -- its clear that America is ready for an openly gay football star." The NFLs sexual orientation, anti-discrimination and harassment policy states: Coaches, General Managers and others responsible for interviewing and hiring draft-eligible players and free agents must not seek information concerning or make personnel decisions based on a players sexual orientation. This includes asking questions during an interview that suggest that the players sexual orientation will be a factor in the decision to draft or sign him. Examples: Do you like women or men? How well do you do with the ladies? Do you have a girlfriend? Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams tweeted: "I could care less about a mans sexual preference! i care about winning games and being respectful in the locker room!" Williams teammate, cornerback Drayton Florence, posted on his Twitter account: "No comment but it can be a distraction in the locker room. At least hes open with it much respect!" Sam said many people at the Senior Bowl, an all-star game for NFL prospects, seemed to know he was gay. "I didnt realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me," he told ESPN. "I want to own my truth. ... No one else should tell my story but me." Sam told the Times he dated a man on the Missouri swim team and came out to teammates LDamian Washington and Marvin Foster about a year ago, before letting the whole team know during last preseason. "Coaches just wanted to know a little about ourselves, our majors, where were from, and something that no one knows about you," Sam told ESPN. "And I used that opportunity just to tell them that I was gay. And their reaction was like, Michael Sam finally told us." Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said in a statement Sunday night he was proud of Sam and how he represented the program. "Michael is a great example of just how important it is to be respectful of others, hes taught a lot of people here firsthand that it doesnt matter what your background is, or your personal orientation, were all on the same team and we all support each other," Pinkel said. "If Michael doesnt have the support of his teammates like he did this past year, I dont think theres any way he has the type of season he put together." Missouri linebacker Donovan Bonner was a teammate of Sams for five years. "We knew of his status for 5 years and not one team member, coach, or staff member said anything says a lot about our family atmosphere," Bonner tweeted. Nike Air Huarache Womens Uk . "I thought he was going to pass away, I was going to die, I was going to leave his kids behind and his family," said Cabrera through third base coach Luis Rivera, translating Spanish to English. Cheap Nike Air Huarache Triple Black . "Being a competitor and a guy that loves the game and tries to play with as much passion as you can, you dont ever want to come off the field," Reilly said after practice at Commonwealth Stadium.INDIANAPOLIS - IndyCar announced a multi-year agreement with Verizon on Friday that will make the telecommunications giant the title sponsor of the series. Verizon replaces former title sponsor Izod. Its sponsorship of what will now be known as the Verizon IndyCar Series launches with the March 30 season opening race. The partnership announced Friday includes network coverage upgrades to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as well as enhancements to IndyCars race control and new pit lane monitors. New York-based Verizon, the largest U.S. cellphone carrier, also plans to enhance connectivity for spectators at domestic races. "Verizon is delighted to become the title sponsor of the IndyCar series and to bring even more of our innovative technology to the fans, to the teams and to the entire motorsports community," said Dan Mead, president and CEO of Verizon Wireless. "The intersection of racing and technology has never been more relevant, and our expanded partnership with INDYCAR provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate that synergy, integrate new services like LTEE Multicast and help propel the sport forward. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 Trainers. " Verizon has been an "official partner" of IndyCar for the past four years, and is the primary sponsor of Will Powers car with Team Penske. Verizon will also sponsor Juan Pablo Montoya in at least eight races this year, and sponsor all three of Team Penskes cars at the inaugural road course race at Indianapolis. As part of the deal with IndyCar, Verizon will use its LTE Multicast solution at race tracks in the future. It will also complement the Verizon IndyCar 14 app and indycar.com, the series website. "Verizon is the perfect partner for us to showcase the high level of innovation and technology that is inherent in our sport," said Mark Miles, CEO, Hulman & Co., the parent of IndyCar and IMS. "IndyCar will provide a large audience of tech-savvy consumers who are eager for the latest technology to further enhance their experience." Verizon joins rival Sprint as sponsor of a major auto racing series. 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