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Michael Sam is still working out, holding onto his NFL dream

2014 NFL Combine

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 22: Former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam speaks to the media during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 22, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Joe Robbins

A year ago this week, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam made national headlines at the NFL Scouting Combine.

This week, he’s working quietly and patiently toward a comeback, hoping he can again become the first openly gay player on an NFL roster.

Sam was a Combine star last year, primarily for coming out just before he came to Indianapolis. The Rams used a seventh-round pick on him, but cut him prior to the start of the regular season. A short stint on the Cowboys practice squad came and went, and now he’s working out in hopes of making a comeback.

I don’t believe that being gay has kept me off an NFL roster,” Sam wrote in a first-person piece for Sports Illustrated. “But I will challenge anyone who says I don’t have the talent to make it in the league, and I will continue to push myself every single day and do whatever it takes until I can to earn another roster spot.”

Despite the attention that came with his announcement, Sam said there was never any awkwardness in the locker room or on the field when he was with the Rams and Cowboys.

Now, he hopes he can get another chance to show what he can do. While undersized and slow-ish, he was also the SEC defensive player of the year as a senior at Missouri, with 11.5 sacks.

Sam said he’s been approached by networks about analyst jobs, and others have wondered why he’s continuing to train for a job offer that might never come.

“I tell them the same thing every time: I’ll give up the game when my legs are both broken,” he wrote. “I’m a football player and I will keep fighting for my dream to play in the NFL.”

While his star may never burn as brightly as it did a year ago this time, his passion for the game apparently does.