PHOTOS: GETTY North America
The St. Louis Rams have signed Michael Sam to an historic rookie contract. The 24-year-old defensive end and former star player at the University of Missouri made history in May when he became the first openly gay football player selected in the National Football League draft. The Rams have now signed "all 11 players selected by the team last month at Radio City Music Hall, according to a team source," reported NFL.com on Thursday.
The team later confirmed the signings.
Sam signed a "four-year, $2.65 million contract, with $46,000 of it guaranteed," reported Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports.
Michael Sam later tweeted: "Grateful, humbled, and motivated after officially signing with all my Rams rookie brothers. Let's do this!! #RamUp "
The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Mizzou senior was voted the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, was named a first-team all-American and was voted Missouri's most valuable player. Missouri finished its season 12-2 and Sam helped lead the team to its Cotton Bowl victory.
Sam made history last February when he became the first Division I college football player to come out as gay. He also becomes the second openly gay athlete to play in the rarefied "Big Four"—the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. Twelve year NBA veteran Jason Collins became the first openly gay player in the "Big Four" earlier this year. The 35-year-old Collins came out in April 2013 and was signed by the Brooklyn Nets in February.
Former Washington Redskins player Wade Davis, former Division I basketball player Will Sheridan and former American Basketball Association player DeMarco Majors discussed the landscape for professional Black gay athletes with me in the award-winning and critically-acclaimed 2012 anthology For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Not Enough. The book was edited by television commentator Keith Boykin.
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