Add Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery to the list of current NFL front office personnel to lend their support to Michael Sam who revealed he was gay on ESPN and to the New York Times on Sunday.
Per ESPN Chicago Bears reporter Michael C. Wright:
Emery said, “Michael stated with great poise and confidence who he is as a person and football player,” and the general manager respects “the way he conveyed his thoughts and the courage it took to state them publicly.” Most importantly, Emery said the team’s evaluation of Sam will be based solely on his ability to help the Bears win football games.
Sam was the co-defensive player of the year in the SEC this past season when he recorded 11.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss but is viewed as a player who will have to move to outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense because at 6-1, 255-pounds he is too small to play defensive end in a 4-3.
The Bears run a 4-3 and despite whispers from fans the team should switch to a 3-4 because of the presence of former first round pick Shea McClellin who was another tweener like Sam.
“It is about his skill set as a football player to add positively to a team’s goals, and that’s how he will be evaluated,” Emery said. Based on the lack of success McClellin has had in Chicago and his lack of a natural fit in the Bears’ 4-3 defense likely means that Sam will not be a Bear draft pick despite having Emery’s respect.