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Missouri All-American defensive end Michael Sam has publicly came out as gay, making him potentially the first openly gay NFL player.

In Sunday interviews with ESPN and The New York Times, Sam said his teammates and coaches at Missouri have known since August.

“I am an openly, proud gay man,”

“It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be … I want to be a football player in the NFL,” he said in the interviews.

The 255-pound Sam participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., last month after leading the SEC in sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (19), and he is projected to be a mid-round NFL draft pick this coming May.

Sam later took to Twitter to thank people for their support.

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