- Darren Rovell, ESPN.com Sports Business reporter
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Michael Sam has signed autograph deals with five trading card companies, one of his agents, Cameron Weiss, told ESPN.com.
The former Missouri defensive end, who recently revealed he is gay, became more highly coveted after the announcement by companies that make products featuring draft-eligible players.
Weiss said Sam will have autographed products in Topps, Upper Deck, Panini, Sage and Press Pass sets. He would not talk about the terms of the deals other than to say Sam was paid amounts commensurate to what the companies have paid those who are expected to be among the earliest players drafted.
Press Pass, whose first product hits stores March 5, signed Sam even though his autograph won't be in packs of its first series.
"We normally focus on defensive players that are most likely to get drafted in the first two rounds, so Michael was originally one of our alternates," said Nick Matijevich, vice president of operations for Press Pass, which has signed 70 players to autograph deals, including Johnny Manziel, Jadeveon Clowney and Teddy Bridgewater. "But the news made his inclusion a no-brainer."
Matijevich said collectors who send in the UPC code from the box will receive an autographed Sam card while supplies last.
"We're excited to see how collectors will receive him," Matijevich said.
Weiss said Sam didn't want to sign too much as he wants to focus on his training over the next couple of weeks. Sam has a public signing in St. Louis on March 22. An autographed mini helmet at the signing will cost $60. An autographed Missouri jersey will cost $100.
10hEric D. Williams
2dBy Ian O'Connor