June 14, 2014 at 9:39 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Michael Sam signs contract with St. Louis Rams

Michael Sam, football, Missouri, gay news, Washington Blade

The St. Louis Rams on Thursday signed Michael Sam to a four-year, $2.65 million contact. (Photo by Marcus Qwertyus; courtesy Wikimedia Commons).

The St. Louis Rams on Thursday signed Michael Sam to a four-year contract.

Fox Sports reported that Sam’s contact is worth $2.65 million with a guaranteed $46,000. The Rams signed all 11 of their 2014 draft picks.

Sam, a former University of Missouri defensive end, came out in February during a series of interviews with the New York Times and ESPN. He became the first openly gay man drafted into the National Football League last month after the Rams picked him during the seventh round.

Some observers and athletes have told the Washington Blade in recent weeks they feel Sam’s sexual orientation may have contributed to his low ranking in the NFL draft. Others have disputed these claims, noting his disappointing performance during the NFL scouting combine that took place shortly after he came out contributed to his decreased position.

“It’s tough to make it in the NFL and there’s so many plausible ways to get rid of someone,” former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe told the Blade earlier this month before he served as grand marshal of the Capital Pride parade. “I am hopeful that this is a situation where Mike is given a chance to show his talents, show if he can make it or not based on who he is as a football player, not who he is as defined by his sexuality.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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