University of Missouri

MU’s Michael Sam talks to reporters at NFL combine

Updated: 2014-02-23T01:34:48Z

By TEREZ A. PAYLOR

The Kansas City Star

— Missouri star defensive end Michael Sam addressed the media at the NFL combine Saturday in his first news conference since he announced that he is gay. Here is a Q&A from the session, which was held at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Sam's opening statement:

“My name is Michael Sam, I play football for the University of Missouri. Missouri is the Show Me State and I think I showed you guys enough the past couple of weeks, but I'm learning with the media, you guys still want more. So ask your questions and I'll answer them the best I can.”

On if he's concerned about the reaction he'll get from fans:

“No. I've been getting a lot of great positive feedback from all kinds of fans. When I'm on the field, I really don't focus on fans, I just focus on my responsibilities, which is the guy across from me.”

On whether the Miami bullying scandal concerns him:

“If the Miami Dolphins drafted me, I would be excited to go to the organization. But I'm not afraid to go into that environment. I know how to handle myself, I know how to communicate with teammates, I know how to communicate with coaches and the other staff I'll communicate with.”

On what have the last couple of weeks been like:

“I've been missing in action, so I really haven't been paying attention to the media, so I don't really know.”

On whether he has any endorsements:

“I have no endorsements. I'm just training for the combine and pro day. I've been working on everything from 40 to vertical jump to everything, the whole nine yards”

On whether he noticed a different atmosphere in the locker room after he came out:

“No, not at all. It was the same as the first day I was there.”

On his rainbow-colored button he wore that said “Stand with Sam”:

“Stand with Sam? I hope all you guys stand with Sam. Please do. I'm just proud. I went to the basketball game against Tennessee, a very kind lady gave it to me. I gave her a hug and I got a lot of support out there.”

On what the support he received at the Tennessee game meant to him:

“It's great. I love my fans, I love Mizzou. One of the best schools in the nation. I thought what they did this past weekend was amazing. I wanted to cry but I couldn't (laugh). I want to thank everyone who supports me, especially the Mizzou students, the coaches, the whole organization. M-I-Z, Z-O-U, I'm a Tiger forever.”

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/TerezPaylor.

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