Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted into the National Football League, said he would still be in the NFL if he never came out, the Hollywood Reporter reports.
The athlete's comments came Friday when speaking to sportscaster Dan Patrick. Sam, a former defensive end at the University of Missouri who went on to be drafted by the Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft, told Patrick he never planned for the media attention he received after coming out and said it may have hurt his shot at playing professional football.
"I wanted to come out after I made an NFL roster, it really wasn't supposed to be public," he said on the "Dan Patrick Show." "It was just supposed to be to the team, as I did at the University of Missouri."
He said some reporters knew he was gay and was concerned they would out him. Sam said he wanted to come out on his own terms.
"I wanted to be the one to tell my own story. I didn't want someone telling it for me," said Sam, who went on to play for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.
Patrick asked the athlete if coming out hurt his career.
"I'm not going to say ... but it probably would have been better for me if I didn't come out, I would be on a roster," Sam said. "But, as I said, I have no regrets whatsoever."
The Rams cut Sam before the start of the 2014 regular season. He was later scooped up by the Dallas Cowboys for their practice squad but was eventually nixed from the team. After appearing on "Dancing With the Stars" and his short time with the Alluettes, Sam returned to the University of Missouri to get his master's degree.
Listen to the 13-minute interview below.