Agent: Chargers would be fit for Sam
Missouri DE Michael Sam Says He's Gay
Sam announced that he is gay during an interview Sunday with ESPN's "Outside the Lines." Assuming he is drafted in May, Sam would become the first openly gay player in NFL history.
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Joe Barkett, one of Sam's representatives at Los Angeles-based Empire Athletics, mentioned the Chargers as a potential team for his client based on San Diego's decision to draft linebacker Manti Te'o last year.
The Chargers used a second-round draft pick on Te'o, the former Notre Dame star who gained national notoriety last year for his connection to a high-profile hoax involving a fake girlfriend.
"I think the Chargers would be a great fit for [Sam], especially considering the way that they handled the Manti Te'o issue," Barkett said Monday in a phone interview with the U-T. "It seemed to blow over very easily once the first game had happened. I think that'd be a great spot for [Sam] to land. And he'd be close to us."
Te'o, who started 13 games this past season despite a persistent foot injury, repeatedly said that his Chargers teammates did not address the hoax with him.
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But Te'o's story was a major topic of discussion prior to last year's draft. Barkett said he expects Sam to receive a similar amount of attention, especially when he speaks to reporters this month at the NFL scouting combine.
"I expect it to be pretty big," Barkett told the U-T. "We're working with the NFL right now to see what the most appropriate way there is for Mike to address the media. Obviously, everybody is going to want to hear what he has to say.
"He definitely will be addressing the media. We're just trying to figure out what the best forum is for doing that."
Sam, an All-America defensive lineman, led the SEC with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss last season, helping Missouri reach the SEC championship game.
Many draft projections see Sam as a middle-round pick, with some saying he could go as high as the third round with a possible position switch to outside linebacker. Sam is rated the No. 12 outside pass-rusher in the draft by ESPN Scouts Inc.
"I just want to go to the team who drafts me," Sam said Sunday. "Because that team knows about me, knows that I'm gay, and also knows that I work hard. That's the team I want to go to."
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