ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Surrounded by dozens of media members and television cameras, the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL said his focus right now is just making the team… despite being one of the most talked-about athletes in the world.
"Right now, I'm focused on football," Michael Sam, who was wearing a gay pride bracelet during Tuesday's press conference, said. "I will always support equality, period, but I'm focused on football."
Sam – a standout defensive end from the University of Missouri – was the 249th player picked in the NFL draft. St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher said in a news conference Tuesday that he picked Sam solely based on his football acumen.
After being drafted by the St. Louis Rams, Michael Sam plays down the hype about being the first openly gay player in the NFL. He says he just wants to be great.
"When we got to our pick, or shortly before our pick, Michael's value as a football player was off the charts," Fisher said. "So we drafted Michael as a football player, and he has the opportunity now to come in and compete for a spot on our football team."
Despite saying on Saturday that he thought his sexuality impacted in his placement in the draft, on Tuesday, Sam said 'he had no idea' if it played a role,' and that it doesn't matter, because he has made a team.
Sam gave mostly short answers during a roughly 15 minute interview Tuesday.
ORIGINAL STORY: St. Louis Rams pick Michael Sam in NFL draft
His answer when asked how he felt about his jersey being the NFL's second most popular?
"It's sad that they can be, but I can't really do anything about that."
He did talk about his experience as the first person in his family to go to college.
"Adversity hits everyone," Sam said, "and depending on what you want to do with it, I wanted to get out, I wanted to do some great things, so I played sports, I got better at football, I got better at my grades, I was the first person in my family to graduate and now I'm the first person in my family to go to the NFL."
Fisher said Sam certainly has a shot at making the Rams roster.
"His skillset is unique," he said. "Anybody who's watched him play sees special traits."
Even though Sam said he's focused on football, he still had a message about equality.
"It's okay to be who you are, whether you're gay, straight, black or white," he said.
The press conference was preceded by a separate press conference with the Rams' entire 2014 rookie class.