Tennessee Titans: Michael Sam and the NFL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The predominant thinking about an openly gay player, Michael Sam, being part of the draft is that if he’s a guy a team thinks can help, the team should and will take him.

That’s the position Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt took in an interview Tuesday with “The Drive” on FOX Sports 910 in Phoenix.

“You look at the NFL locker room and it’s a diverse background,” Whisenhunt said. “You’ve got all kinds of players that come from all kinds of different backgrounds. You know that dynamic has a way of working out. I think the bottom line is: ‘Can you play football?’ If you can, there’s no issues…

“There’s a lot of different guys that walk into your locker room. I’ve seen a lot of different guys in different situations and the teammates accept them … and if you can play – that’s really what it comes down to. The locker room is an interesting place … you’ve got so many guys from diverse backgrounds; it’s not a big deal.”

You can hear Whisenhunt’s whole interview here.

Would the Titans draft Michael Sam?

February, 10, 2014
Feb 10
10:56
AM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The question of the day is about Missouri’s Michael Sam, who is preparing for the combine after publicly sharing that he is gay.

He’s a defensive end who played quite well at Missouri, where he was SEC Defensive Player of the Year along with Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley.

Aside from how he grades out as a draft prospect, will teams take into consideration that he will be a big news story -- as the first openly gay NFL player -- and let it influence if and when they’d draft him?

Odds are some teams will let it be a factor.

Would the Titans?

General manager Ruston Webster is an upstanding guy who’s well-connected and well-respected around the league. I think Webster and his scouts will evaluate Sam as they would any other player. If he’s the top-rated player on Tennessee’s board at a time when the Titans feel they need a defensive end, I don’t think they’d pass because he’d bring attention with him.

But reports from the Senior Bowl I’ve read said he didn’t look very comfortable playing in space as an outside linebacker. The Titans are going to be a hybrid front, not the traditional 4-3 they’ve been for their entire time in Tennessee.

If Sam is not a football fit, the Titans won’t be a team that really faces the question.

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