Michael Sam got paid before the NFL Draft even started when it was announced that the former Missouri defensive end signed an endorsement deal with Visa.
Sam, who could become the first openly gay NFL player whether hes drafted this week or signs as an undrafted rookie free agent, appears in a commercial that debuted on Thursday.
Inthe 43-second spot
, a voice-over by Sam asks viewers to judge him for running a 4.91 at the Combine, or a blown tackle on the outside rush, or holding fourth and goal with your teams wild-card berth on the line.
Judge me for what I do on the field, Sam says as he slowly bench presses in a weight room. Left unsaid:Not for what I do off of it
Sam was the SEC defensive player of the year last season after racking a Tigers-record 11 1/2 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss.
He finished with 48 tackles and nine quarterback hurries along with two forced fumbles and a 21-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown against Georgia.
Sam, who came out publicly in February before the NFL Combine, is projected as a late-round pick in the draft.
The campaign will be used in Visas online marketing.
We felt that Michaels story was a perfect fit for our everywhere campaign, which is meant to inspire people to reach their own personal goals and aspirations, Visas chief marketing officer, Kevin Burke, told ESPN.com. We wish Michael the best on and off the field as he embarks on the next chapter of his life.
Attorney Cameron Weiss, one of Sams agents, added, Weve been really selective in trying to find the right partners and we couldnt be more pleased to start with a world class company like Visa.