Michael Sam (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Tom Pelissero, USA TODAY Sports
Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam hopes to be the NFL's first openly gay player.
In multiple interviews published Sunday night, Sam - a first team all-Southeastern Conference pick last season and potential mid-round NFL draft pick in May - revealed he is gay.
Sam told ESPN and the New York Times he came out to his Missouri teammates before last season.
"We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage," the NFL said in a statement. "Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014."
No NFL player has announced publicly he's gay while his career is active. Several former players, including Kwame Harris and Esera Tuaolo, have said they're gay after retiring.
There is anti-discrimination language in the collective-bargaining agreement. In April 2013, the NFL also sent a sexual orientation anti-discrimination and harassment policy to all club presidents, coaches and general managers, who shared it with their staff.