Former NFL player Michael Sam, 32, will begin his coaching career as an assistant defensive line coach in Spain with the Barcelona Dragons. The team welcomed Sam in an official announcement on their socials today (April 10).
"Michael Sam (@MichaelSam52) is our new DL Assistant Coach! He has an outstanding career in football....Welcome Michael!"
Michael Sam played as a defensive end in college for the Missouri Tigers when Mizzou joined the SEC. In 2013, he won the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award. After his standout career at Mizzou, Sam publicly came out as gay. He then made history in 2014 as the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL. He was the No. 249 overall pick in Round 7 of the 2014 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams.
Sam only played in the 2014 preseason for the Rams before he was cut in the seventh-round selection before the season began. He then briefly joined the Dallas Cowboys' practice before being waived to make room for linebacker Troy Davis.
In May 2015, Sam signed a two-year contract with the Florida Montreal Alouettes. This made him the first publicly gay player to play in a Canadian Football League (CFL) regular-season game in history. However, in August that same year - Sam decided to retire from the league to focus on his mental health.
Now, 7 years later, Sam is celebrating his first coaching job in the European Football League with the Barcelona Dragons.
"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity joining the Barcelona Dragons organization. I want to thank GM Bart Iaccarino, HC Weidinger, and the Barcelona team. I hope to contribute however I can to help the defensive line to be the best pass rushers in the European League," said Sam per the team's official statement.
Sam also shared his excitement on his official Instagram page, captioning:
"First I want to thank @barcelona.dragons for this incredible opportunity to get back to a game that has given me so much in my life. I also want to thank the friends who have seen my highs and lows and lows again and encouraged me to stay resilient. I am so excited to start this new journey and to help my new family however I can. I’m excited to learn more about the @europeanleagueoffootball, the players, and the Spanish culture. I also want to thank my LBGTQ community for having my back in my time of need. I will continue on to fight for our place in history. I love you all."
Gaye wishes Michael Sam a winning season with the Barcelona Dragons!