Nwaneri would welcome gay teammate

February, 10, 2014
Feb 10
9:00
AM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Uche Nwaneri believes Michael Sam’s sexual orientation will not result in problems when he finally enters an NFL locker room in May.

Nwaneri said NFL players' only concern about Sam, the former Missouri defensive end who announced on Sunday he is gay, will be whether he can help them get better and win games.

“I would welcome a gay teammate same as any other,” Nwaneri told ESPN. “Something about team sports really transcends color and orientation. In between the lines it’s all football. Purest form of it. I don’t know how it will play out in specific locker rooms around the league, but I know that as adults and professionals the only thing that should matter is the game and the team.

“Our teammates and coaches are like family and I don’t see sexual orientation as something that should threaten that environment.”

Sam was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 after he posted 11.5 sacks. The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Sam fits what the Jaguars call their Leo position, a hybrid end/linebacker whose primary purpose is to rush the passer. He projects as a third- to fifth-round pick.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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