Michael Sam: I'd Still Be In the NFL if I Hadn't Come Out

Courtesy of OWN
Michael Sam

"I have no regrets whatsoever," Sam says.

Michael Sam could very well still be playing in the NFL had he not come out as gay, the former St. Louis Ram told sportscaster Dan Patrick on Friday.

Sam, who played defensive end at the University of Missouri before being drafted into the NFL, told Patrick becoming a media spectacle was never a part of his plan, and may have hurt his first shot at professional football. 

"I wanted to come out after I made an NFL roster, it really wasn't supposed to be public," Sam said on the Dan Patrick Show during a 13-minute interview. "It was just supposed to be to the team, as I did at the University of Missouri." 

But some reporters were aware of his sexuality, and Sam feared they would break the news, which he wanted to do on his own terms, he said. 

"I wanted to be the one to tell my own story. I didn't want someone telling it for me," said Sam, who was the recipient of the 2014 Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Then Patrick asked Sam if coming out hurt his professional career. 

"I'm not going to say ... but it probably would have been better for me if I didn't come out, I would be on a roster," Sam said. "But, as I said, I have no regrets whatsoever." 

Sam was cut by the Rams before the start of the 2014 regular season, having been beat for a roster spot by Ethan Westbrooks. From there, he was claimed by the Dallas Cowboys for their practice squad, but ultimately cut again. 

Sam had a short stint in the Canadian Football League before returning to the University of Missouri to pursue a master's degree. 

Sam, who called himself "a damn good" football player, said he still wants to play in the NFL and is training for that opportunity.