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. -- Michael Sam was just another recruit when he left his small Texas hometown and arrived in Missouri. Playing for the Tigers, he turned into a private loquacious leader ready to make a trailblazing announcement. The defensive star wants to become the first openly gay NFL player. "I told him: This is going to be mammoth," coach Gary Pinkel said Monday, a day after Sam came out to the world. "I dont have a word, OK, for how big this is going to be." Its a bigger deal for the older generation. Sams teammates and acquaintances easily made the adjustment, plus he proved himself on the field. "Hes a leader," former 49ers great running back Roger Craig said. "I would definitely welcome him on my team. Id play with him any day. I like people who stand up for themselves." Sam revealed he was gay at one of the football teams get-acquainted dinners last summer hosted by Pinkel and assistant coaches. The next day, Pinkel said, Sam told the entire team. Realizing the enormity of the situation, Pinkel left the next move up to the senior who blossomed into one of the best defensive ends in the country -- and one surrounded by teammates who didnt worry one bit about sexual orientation or reveal his secret until he came out on Sunday. Athletes across the campus approve. "Love is love," basketball guard Jordan Clarkson said. "Thats their personal life." Pinkel, athletic director Mike Alden and other school officials applauded Sams courage Monday at Faurot Field. As a backdrop, the first two letters of Sams last name were etched in snow to join the giant "M" just beyond the north end zone. "Pretty cool," Pinkel said. Coaches and Sam agreed that making an announcement during the season might be a distraction. It was Sams call to skip all the weekly media days and postgame news conferences, too, the better to avoid the risk of the topic coming up. Sam broke his silence prior to the Cotton Bowl and the conversation stayed on football, just like he wanted. Sam was prompted to make his decision to come out after the Senior Bowl, where it became apparent the players sexual orientation was widely known. This meant a declaration just days before the NFL combine and shouldering the pressure that goes along with the historic declaration. "Its very clear that everybody in the NFL knew," said Howard Bragman, a consultant hired by Sams agent to help manage the announcement in the media. The NFL and many others, including the White House, publicly applauded Sams decision. President Barack Obamas spokesman, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden all called him a courageous and inspirational athlete. But now, after a few high-profile interviews, its back to silent Sam. The fifth level of the stadium was jammed with dozens of reporters for Mondays news conference but there was no sign of the star attraction. Bragman said Sam was travelling Monday to a camp at an undisclosed location where hell prepare for the combine. Though hes been a most reticent public speaker, Pinkel described Sam as a virtual chatterbox. "He drove me crazy a lot of times, he doesnt shut up sometimes," Pinkel said with a chuckle. "He talks and talks and talks. "You always know hes in with my secretary because I can hear him and I have to close the door -- I cant concentrate." Sam arrived at Missouri without fanfare. Rivals.com gave him just two stars when he was coming out of Hitchcock High School. He had 10 career starts before his breakout senior season. The All-America defensive end led the Southeastern Conference with 11 1/2 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. He was the co-SEC defensive player of the year. But Sam has been projected as a mid-level NFL draft pick, probably because hes a bit undersized at 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds and is likely headed for a transition to outside linebacker. Pinkel doesnt think the announcement will hurt Sams draft status. "Our team was able to move past it and work together," defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski said. "So why shouldnt a bunch of professional football players be able to do the same thing?" There have been a few NFL players who have come out after their playing days, including Kwame Harris and Dave Kopay. "There will be some adjustments that will have to be made, sure," Craig said. "I think it will be a learning curve for the whole league." Cheap NFL Jerseys China
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.com) - Robert Upshaw made a putback jumper to put 17th-ranked Washington ahead with 1:27 remaining in the game and the Huskies held on to beat Eastern Washington 81-77 on Sunday.WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - John Isner shook off a slow start to beat fellow American Bradley Klahn 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 on Tuesday in the second round of the Winston-Salem Open. Isner, the tournaments top seed and two-time winner, served 13 aces — one clocked at 138 mph — and broke Klahns serve twice in the second set to improve to 11-0 all-time in the final tuneup before next weeks U.S. Open. Three of the top six seeds were eliminated in the second round at the Wake Forest Tennis Center. Third-seeded Tommy Robredo of Spain lost to Frances Nicolas Mahut 6-1, 7-6 (7-0); fourth-seeded Leonardo Mayer of Argentina was upset by Belgian qualifier David Goffin 6-3, 6-1; while Polands Jerzy Janowicz stunned No. 6 seed Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5). However, No. 2 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa overcame a shaky second set to beat Frances Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. The 6-foot-8 Anderson, ranked 20th in the world, served 16 aces and almost as many service winners. Mannarino used his ground game to force Anderson into 24 errors in the second set, breaking his serve twice en route to taking the set and evening the match at 1-all. But Anderson got a key service break in the seveenth game of the third set, and closed out the match with two aces and a service winner in the deciding game. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Free Shipping
. Robredo, the tournaments third seed, had his serve broken three times in the first set by the 104th-ranked Mahut, who then took four mini-breaks from Robredo in winning the second-set tiebreaker. "I knew he was in for a tough week after Cincinnati," Mahut said of Robredo, who had upset world No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia in advancing to the quarterfinals of last weeks Western and Southern Open. "I knew if I had a good start, it would be difficult for him. The second set was tougher, but it was still a good finish. I had to play more aggressive in the tiebreak, but it was still good." Goffin, who won his first ATP Tour event last month in Kitzbuhel, Austria, extended his winning streak to 24 matches. That includes ATP Challenger Tour event wins in the Netherlands, Poland and Finland. Also advancing were Americans Sam Querry and Donald Young, Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France, Italys Andreas Seppi, Spains Marcel Granollers, Kazakhstans Mikhail Kukushkin, Taiwans Yen-Hsun Lu, Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic, and Spains Pablo Andujar. ' ' '