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Confident Michael Sam wishes focus could stay on game, not that he's an openly gay football player

BY DAVE CAMPBELL
AP PRO FOOTBALL WRITER

INDIANAPOLIS -- Michael Sam needed no introduction.

He provided one anyway, subtly spelling out his desire to be known simply as a football player whose sexuality isn't a national story.

"Good afternoon. My name is Michael Sam. I play football for the University of Missouri," he said to commence his first public appearance since announcing he's gay.

Sam smiled and laughed often during a 12½-minute news conference at Lucas Oil Stadium, looking relaxed, jovial and confident while taking questions from the hundreds of reporters surrounding the podium.

Though Sam said he's been too busy working out to absorb the coverage in the two weeks since his revelation, he chided the media a bit for the volume of analysis of this watershed moment in sports. Sam will be the first open homosexual in the NFL.

"I wish you guys would just say, 'Michael Sam, how's football going? How's training going?' I would love for you to ask me that question. But it is what it is. And I just wish you guys would just see me as Michael Sam the football player instead of Michael Sam the gay football player."

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