Tim's Take: Michael Sam - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Tim's Take: Michael Sam

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Michael Sam was certainly a disruption to Georgia when he was picking up a fumble and returning it for the touchdown that triggered the two-game losing streak that changed the Bulldogs' season.

But it's not fair to assume he would disturb the order of any team he showed up with next football season.

That was discussed at length this week after Sam announced he was gay, setting up a scenario where he could be the first active openly gay player in the NFL next season.

"There are going to be some guys who accept it and there are going to be some guys who don't accept ," former NFL player Jason Parker. "But it's here."

Acceptance reached various levels this week, when Sam's coming was met with support from the White House and speculation from anonymous NFL general managers that the current SEC Defensive Player of the Year might not even be drafted.

"My hope,'' said NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, "would be that in the same way every player is graded by what he can accomplish on the field that would be exactly the same standard that you'd want to apply to every player.''

It might have been smart for those GMs to remain anonymous.

After all, who would want a player who led the best conference in the country in sacks and tackles for loss?

Who would want a man who has already demonstrated the courage and character to do what no active NFL player had done before?

Who would want a teammate so highly thought of that, when Sam came out to his fellow Missouri players back in August, not one went public with the information until he was ready to?

"At the end of the day, for a position coach,'' said Packers linebackers coach Winston Moss, "it's all about, can he play football? It's all about football.''

Sam showing up at a team's camp will cause a stir.

National media and tabloid TV will be at preseason workouts that rarely attract attention.  But that will be temporary.

The way he is accepted in the long run will be determined less by what he says about himself than what he does in the league.

Now, he's known as a gay football player. But if he's as good as he was in college, he'll only be known as a football player.

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