Tony Dungy and Michael Sam may have never been on the same sidelines if Dungy was still in the NFL. According to CBS Sports on July 21, Dungy would have skipped over the former Missouri Tiger linebacker. Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the 7th round of this year's NFL draft is the first openly-gay NFL player in league history.
The former Super Bowl winning coach and current NBC analyst thinks Sam has the talent to play in the NFL, but he would not have selected him.
"I wouldn't have taken him,'' Dungy told the Tampa Bay Tribune. “Not because I don't believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn't want to deal with all of it. "It's not going to be totally smooth ... things will happen."
Dungy does bring up good points, but is it fair? Take Tim Tebow for instance.
Never has a player who did so well in college as Tebow come to the pros and wasn't really given his typical average five year shot. The "five year shot" is the average time a QB usually gets to make it in the NFL who is not a designated starter. Not many QB's are released by a team after their second or third season wthout getting real playing time and not picked up by another team.
Tebow got thrown into the starting job to relieve a failing Kyle Orton in Denver with the Broncos. Although he looked green at times he did nothing but win - yet many believe Tebow was blackballed by the league for his religious beliefs.
Could the same happen to Sam if he doesn't produce?
Most sports fans know for most quarterbacks, defensive line men, linebackers, MLB pitchers and NHL goaltenders it takes time to become a great player. Very few athletes come into the league and dominate from the word go. If Sam gets his shot this season to play a lot for St. Louis he will be under a bigger microscope than Tebow was. Every city the Rams play in this year, no matter if they are a good team or not, the first player most reporters are going to flock to is Michael Sam.
However, if Sam sacks quarterbacks, breaks up running plays and causes the offensive line of opponents to feel uncomfortable with a big pass rush from time to time, no one will talk about his sexuality, they will talk about what a great game he had. The real question, assuming he makes the squad, is will the attention Sam is going to get every week in his rookie year become a distraction to his team.
Tony Dungy thinks so, do you?