Michael Sam moves in on Johnny Manziel.

Michael Sam: Interview published earlier this week on lombardiave.com


Today’s coming out announcement by Michael Sam has sent seismic waves across America, with the reaction as diverse as the makeup of this country.

While there have been those who have reacted with vehement detestation, there has also been a great sounding of support heard, with many throwing their support to one of the best college players in the country.

The SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a player projected to be a high to mid-round NFL Draft selection, tweeted this after the story hit the air:

I want to thank everybody for their support and encouragement,especially @espn, @nytimes and @nfl. I am proud to tell my story to the world!

— Michael Sam (@MikeSamFootball) February 10, 2014

A few minutes later, he followed up that first tweet with this one:

 

The Hitchcock, Texas, native told the world tonight in an interview on ESPN.

Here’s what he said:

“I’m an openly, proud gay man. I want to be a football player in the NFL. I understand how big this is because this is a big deal. No one has done this before. … It’s kind of a nervous process, but I know I want this.”

Earlier this week, our own Dan Dahlke put together a Q&A with Sam. Though he didn’t come out in this interview, what does come out is his honesty and desire to be an NFL player.

Take another read, if you have already seen it here on lombardiave. If you haven’t read it, give it another read.

 Michael Sam Interview

With the 2014 NFL Draft only a few months away, we reached out to some of the players we believe the Green Bay Packers could target in May - and today we kick off the series with early round prospect Michael Sam.

In this Q&A, Sam talks about his game, what life is like during the draft process, and how he would feel about playing in Green Bay. In the coming weeks we will hear from more draft prospects as we release more player interviews leading up to the draft.

Sam is a Texas native that was a standout defensive end at the University of Missouri. He not only led the SEC in tackles for loss with 18 and sacks with 10.5 during the regular season, but he was also unanimously named a First-Team All-American for his impressive 2013 campaign.

Sam was also named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, and at 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds he projects as either a 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.

To learn more about Sam we reached out to him, and he was gracious enough to take the time to answer our questions.

Q. With the college season over, do you have any specific things you plan on doing to prepare for the draft in May?

MS: Yes, Dan. I participated in the Senior Bowl and I’m also training for the NFL combine in February.

Q. You had a breakout senior season at Missouri, recording 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. You also earned the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award for the 2013 season. What does this award mean to you and how do you plan on transferring this recent success to the NFL?

MS: It is a great honor to be SEC Defensive player of the year. I owe this great honor to my teammates, coaches, and the Mizzou nation. My mindset is to do great things in my life and I am ever so determined to bring my high-energy personality and motor to the next level.

Q. What makes you special as a pass rusher?

MS: I have a high motor and great pass rush technique.

Q. Whenever I see you play you’re a guy that seems to give max effort every time you step on the field. What does it take both mentally and physically to play full throttle on every play like that?

MS: I believe that I have to do whatever it takes for my team to have success. I cannot waste a play without giving max effort. It could be a play where it can determine the game. I refuse to let someone out work me.

Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly (10) is brought down by Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52). Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Q. Is there a part of your game you’d still like to work on improving before the upcoming draft?

MS: There is always improvement. I still need better technique and also work as an outside linebacker.

Q. Every team could use more pass rushers. What would it mean to you if the Packers selected you in the NFL draft? What kind of player and person would they be getting?

MS: If the Green Bay Packers were to draft me then they would see a former Tiger with a work ethic like no other. A man who is determined for greatness and who has a passion for the game.

Q. Green Bay plays a 3-4 defense. What are your thoughts on possibly playing upright as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL? Would this be a tough transition from playing college defensive end?

MS: It would be a new transition, but I believe that I am more than capable of playing that position.

Q. I’ve heard some experts say you’ll be selected in the first round. Some say you’ll go in the second or third round. As a player, do you really pay attention to all this stuff? Does it matter to you when you’re selected?

MS: Coming from a small town of nearly 8,000 people (Hitchcock, Texas) and a school size of 300 students, just getting drafted is a blessing in and of itself.

Q. Who have been the most influential people in your life?

MS: To my mother who raised six others on her own, I love her. To my high school coaches and college coaches, academic coordinators, friends, and Ronnie and Candy Purl who are always there for me.

Q. Finally, when you’re away from football, what do you like to do in your free time?

MS: I love to hangout with my teammates. Sometimes we go hunting or fishing. I love to read and just enjoy life really.

 

Career college stats

• 2013 - 48 tackles, 19 TFL, 11.5 sacks, 5 QB hurries, 2 FF, a fumble return for TD

• 2012 - 22 tackles, 7 TFL, 4.5 sacks, 4 QB hurries, 2 FF, a fumble return for TD

• 2011 - 29 tackles, 3 TFL, 1.5 sacks, 4 QB hurries, an interception

• 2010 - 24 tackles, 7 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 2 QB hurries, 2 FF, an interception, and a blocked kick

 

Michael Sam Highlights 

 

 

Michael Sam against Florida: 4 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 TFL, and a QB hurry

 

 

 

 

Watch more film on Michael Sam at draftbreakdown.com.

Tags: Green Bay Packers Michael Sam

  • JaKa

    Ray: Did an excellent job doing your homework on this kid. Sam is hand on glove as the missing link Ted Thompson must be drooling about. Ted, take him early in round 2 before he gets away. I can feel his determination on reading his comments, and he’ll put out the same kind of numbers after he’s coached well for a year or two, if he lands in Green Bay who he’s drooling over as bad as I did reading his comments. This is my main stance for what the Pack needs, as if this staff writer purposely greased my slate. Sam coming the team can change a season of near mediocrity to one going deep in the playoffs. After him take care of the linebacker needs, my book says: need SPEED, and not the methamphetamine type of speed. My big weakness is following college standouts, and it looks like this kids’ the answer. I’ve said all along we need a pass rush to be a true contender, and be on a Seattle scale. They sure had it all on defense and this one kid broken in to the pros won”t do it alone. It will take a couple more like him. I am getting the same feeling as when Reggie was signed just reading his plea, “If the Green Bay Packers should sign me…”. It sure must have been a fun college career for him! Putting up 4 sacks a game, all the tackles recorded tell the story there. Last year, our drafts were in places needed.

    Some panned out and some still need refining. Adding to the disappointing total number the defensive line put out. This pick surely makes good sense this year, as a top need to keep the Packer offense on the field more. When that happens, and with Mathews behind him, the defense is one man short of great again. Mr Capers can look like what he is again, but needs talent. Look at the defensive drafts from last year. Datone Jones played enough to have his name be remembered in the “13 season, and most likely will be around for some time. His maturing into Capers defense along with stronger linemen next to him, makes things click once again, and Sam along with Jones might be a start at a Future tide in Green Bay, putting out talent on par with a Seattle 2013 team. The Pack is loaded with talent at the skill positions, and the personnel department (TT) deserves credit, not to just say, look at their record, but look at the depth in skill positions, offensive running backs and receivers are a smorgasbord that other teams must be jealous of, thinking of their upstairs team people. Many commentators were down on the linebackers in the past year. WIth Mathews out, sure things got tough, and even with him in, there were times the lacking was apparent. They seem like all muscle and no speed, so when going with receivers, they lost a step and two steps quite often. Adapting to passing teams was also looking “weak” for Green Bay, maybe because pressure was not applied, or to stare the matter right in the eye, was not put out on the field with enough skills and overpowering might along with speed, to replace what Clyde was doing almost alone.

    I have to say I am not sure on Sam Barrington or Nate Palmer, although Palmer seemed to do better in pre-season, with his name out there on plays often enough to remember him. Rookies need a development phase to their career, we’ll see this year, I guess. And the backfield is panned out, despite the numbers offensive teams bombed out with many times. So often, drives happened when quarterbacks brought their easy chair out with them, to sit in the pocket and perhaps enjoy watching the game before throwing a pass. Sorry I’m so cynical with this, but my conceptual attitude came only after watching teams do what Seattle did to Green Bay (Denver included) and that was pass away like recent Packer teams have done since the advent of Brett Favre in Green Bay. There is nothing more than correcting this matter that I’d like to see TT go after with undaunted determination as hard lined as Sam shows in his interviews, as well as what he does on the field. Right now, Sam’s the man, Ted. if you are out there. Check it out and it might be hard to get one any better backed up by their play in college. Sam has “WINNER” tattooed on his forehead, and all over to go with his dogged determination. to take him wouldn’t pan out any lesser than AJ Hawk, who matured into a household name, with tackles over being at the ball so often last year, he’s been on or in the photographs of tackles all the time. too bad it took AJ a few years to play at the level he did in last years drive. He’s up to his potential now, and that is a standout.

    A few key players can make the world of a difference, like when Reggie came in. I thought, “oh good, he will be a great motivator, but his age makes him less aggressive, I’d bet. “. Yes, I lost those bets, he played out key downs. I mean 3rd and one, on the 23 yard line with the Pack leading 23/21, and 1:47 on the clock. Bang! Reggie goes around and throws his man into the line to sack the runner for a loss/or sack the quarterback. Reggie seemed to bait his man. Playing hard all through a drive, then when approaching the red zone, turn on the afterburners, like loading his bazooka; bang knocking out the bombers.

    It looks like the Pack also could use a voice, like Reggie was. He always had positive criticisms on hand to go along with his prayers on the field. That’s no fluke, he brought extra help. Being the Preacher he was, that extra was all he needed. Great teams use every avenue available to win. Green Bay has the talent, and now needs that extra, to be broadcast again. Together Sam and a little unforeseen help could put the “D” into the zone. They will keep it up. The player is a Green Bay Packer. That means; that player is nothing short of the best there is. He will work harder and smarter than the competition, as well as saying his prayers for protection and to get that “edge” those prayers can give. So, live right, do right, and be all you can be. A Packer does these things, and it shows on the field as making a team that cannot be beat. Denver, Seattle, the Giants in the first half all had that edge over the Pack last season. It’s over now and next season needs improvements. Developing to the hilt, some players on board will become all that. Bringing in a few to contribute in places will take it a step farther along into being “the team” again, as the Seahawks are now.

    Reading this article got me all shook up again. Help is out there. Ted Thompson can do. You can be sure he will be taking a look at him on his record. Ted always does find guys like this. It sure looks like he (Michael Sam) is the caulking on a well build house, taking the drafts out, if they bring this draftee in.

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