Michael Sam, who is poised to become the first openly gay pro football player, said Saturday he is eager to move past the attention he garnered when he came out in an ESPN interview earlier this month.
"I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam the football player, not Michael Sam the gay football player," Sam said in his first public address since the interview.
Still, Sam said he thought it was important "to get my story out there.”
But when asked if he felt he was a trailblazer in the sport, he answered, "I feel like I’m Michael Sam.”
During the news conference — held in the midst of the third day of NFL scouting in Indianapolis — Sam said perspective teams were asking him "all football questions,” and that's the way he liked it.
Sam was given the opportunity during the appearance to highlight his skills on the field, but not before thanking his former teammates and those who reached out after he revealed his sexual orientation to the NFL community — and the world.
The NFL said in a statement at the time, "We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage. 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."
Those outside of the football and athletic communities also expressed their respect for Sam's decision.