INDIANAPOLIS — Since Missouri defensive end Michael Sam announced last Sunday that he's gay, he's instantly become one of the most high-profile NFL draft prospects.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Friday that the team would have no issues accepting Sam, who is on course to become the first openly gay NFL player.
"Any player that has the qualities to be a great player and a good teammate is a guy that fits us," Harbaugh said at the NFL scouting combine. "We’re really good at helping players, any player, become a part of our team. That goes to all the things that I think are happening in the NFL the last couple of months.
"Any player that has a good heart and wants to be a good teammate, who loves football, we’re good at helping them become part of a team. And anything that deters from that or detracts from that is not what we’re going to be about.”
Former Ravens linebacker and special teams ace Brendon Ayanbadejo is a strong advocate for LGBT rights and has met with Sam. Ayanbadejo recently told The Baltimore Sun that he believes the Southeastern Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year isn't a great fit for the Ravens' 3-4 defensive scheme, but added that the organization would otherwise interact well with Sam.
"It has to be a conducive environment," Ayanbadejo said. "If it's not a fit in terms of everything, including football and the organization, then it makes no sense to go there. I look at how progressive the state of Maryland is and the leadership in the Ravens' locker room, but he doesn't really fit the scheme, so I don't think that's where he'll go. [Team president] Dick Cass and John Harbaugh are amazing people, but this has to fit from a football and organizational standpoint."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun