Rams See Business As Usual After Sam Pick
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[May 13, 2014]
(Reuters) - The St Louis Rams plan
on business as usual at this summer's training camp, but are making
allowances on Tuesday when they introduce their draft picks, including
Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted.
Rams general manager Les Snead expects a media crush and intense
interest in University of Missouri defensive end Sam, arguably the
highest profile seventh-round pick of an NFL Draft.
Following Thursday's opening round and the second and third rounds
held on Friday, St. Louis used the 249th pick of the 256-man draft
to take Sam on Saturday.
"We spent yesterday talking about that," Snead told ESPN Radio on
Monday. "We’re going to have our rookies in for a press conference
tomorrow. We're going to divide those guys up, Thursday night guys,
Friday night guys and then Saturday guys.
"We definitely got to be aware that Michael Sam and the social
impact of the pick needs a special place. We'll prepare for that.
We'll handle it, but at the end of the day we want this to become as
normal for everybody as possible."
Snead stressed that the choice of Sam and his prospects of making
the team and becoming the first openly gay player in the National
Football League depended on his evaluation as a player.
"When we talked about Michael Sam in our first meetings in December,
in our draft meetings in April, we talked about him as a football
player. We put him on the board as a football player, said Snead.
"We were aware of the magnitude of the decision. We knew it would be
a pivot in history, and we knew the decision at that time was going
to be bigger than football. But at the end of the day that was a
"We felt any time you can get a guy who can rush the passer... all
that does is continue to help keep one of our strongest assets
[to top of second column]
Pass rushing has been a strength of the Rams, whose 53 sacks ranked
third in the NFL, and Sam will face lively competition to make the
unit although he comes in as Southeastern Conference co-defensive
player of the year after registering 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for a
loss last season.
The Rams general manager said Sam would be evaluated the same as all
"I think Jeff (head coach Fisher) answered that," Snead said. "You
have a process to pick players, and you have a process to make the
team and a process to release players.
"This is a football decision and you can’t adjust any of those
processes when you’re making a football decision.
"We’re charged for doing what we think is the best thing for this
organization to go take on the Seattles (Super Bowl champion
Seahawks), the San Frans and Arizona and get us to a place we want
to be and that’s at the top of the NFC West."
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Justin Palmer)
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