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Doug Marrone says 'courageous' Michael Sam would be welcomed by 'great culture'


INDIANAPOLIS -- Doug Marrone expressed confidence Michael Sam would be comfortable with the Buffalo Bills and vice versa.

Sam, a defensive end from the University of Missouri, recently revealed he's homosexual. He would be the NFL's first openly gay active player.

Marrone called Sam "courageous."

Sam is the reining Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year, but he's considered by many analysts to be a mid-round draft prospect.

"When it comes down to the NFL, it always comes down to the same thing: Can you perform good enough to help your team win," Marrone said today at the NFL scouting combine. "I think that's what everyone gets evaluated on here. The same with the locker room.

"I think we have a great culture in our building. I think we have a great culture within our locker room. I think our players are open to ... and I can't speak for them, but as far as the organization, we're open to bringing anyone in who can help better our football team, win games and help our community."

By announcing he's gay two weeks ago, Sam has put up his sexuality for discussion.

Sam will attend the combine. He will interview with teams, work out in Lucas Oil Stadium and hold a news conference with reporters.

"It's very courageous of him to come out and say what he feels," Marrone said. "I think people should do that. It must be awful to not be able to say what you feel or what you believe."

  • joe

    this guy is a great player, why does anyone care about him being gay. he should just be a football player.

    • JMS

      I believe he was considered a 4th or 5th rounder before this announcement. It will be interesting to see if he goes higher due to the press he is getting.

      • Big Frank

        Agreed A marginal pro prospect who now has a discrimination lawsuit at the ready when he gets released by an NFL team.

      • Guest

        interesting indeed... curious to see how it plays out.

        • Big Frank

          He'll have a discrimination lawsuit filed as soon as an NFL team releases him - guaranteed.

  • AC

    The draft will be the true test of how welcome he is on a pro team. All of these interviews at this point with coaches, teams, is just lip service at this point.

  • BuffaloFan4Life

    Well I hope Mr. Sam comes to the combine prepared for the media onslaught. Yes, it's 2014, and we fans and I'm sure all the teams' executives, coaches, players and employees could not care less about Sam's sexuality.

    But our out of control, 24 hour "breaking news per second" MEDIA sure cares. I'm sure Coach Marrone didn't just bring up Michael Sam to the writer of this story. All I can say is perhaps Sam is couragious or perhaps he's just using the media to ensure he gets drafted. Either way, the media will be out in force from now until who knows, 2 or more years into his career?

    Be careful what you ask for Michael, because now you are absolutely going to get it. Just ask Tim Tebow how much "fun" it was for him.

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Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.