After Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay on Monday, becoming the first active NFL player to do so, Michael Sam thanked Nassib on Twitter.
Sam, who was the first openly gay man to get drafted into the NFL, thanked Nassib for his courage and his $100,000 donation to the Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to the LGBTQ+ community.
Sam came out prior to the 2014 NFL Draft. He was the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a talented prospect, though many NFL scouts thought he was undersized and not fast enough.
Many still considered Sam a mid-round talent, but he fell to the 249th overall pick before the Rams selected him in the seventh round.
“I think I was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year last year,” Sam said at the time. “So, I don’t think it had to do with talent.”
Sam was cut by the Rams shortly after joining the team and signed with the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. He was cut once again, and finished his short career never playing in a regular season NFL game.
Nassib is following in Sam’s path, serving as an inspiration to many. He is under contract until 2022, and will likely become the first openly gay NFL player to play in a regular season game.