May 10, 2014 -- The wait was long and wasn't what Michael Sam was expecting, but in the end, the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL said he was satisfied.
The St. Louis Rams picked Sam, a defensive lineman out of the University of Missouri, in the seventh round of the draft.
The announcement by NFL Vice President of Game Operations Mike Kensil was greeted with boisterous cheers from the crowd at Radio City Music Hall, where the draft was held.
Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and an All-American, last season said he thought he should have gone in the first three rounds, but he didn't say whether he thought he slipped because he came out.
"You know what, who knows? Who knows? Only the people who sit in the war room know," he said. "They saw Michael Sam, day after day they scratched it off the board. That was their loss. But St. Louis kept me on that board. And you know what I feel like I'm a (Jadeveon) Clowney, a first draft pick. I'm proud of where I am now."
Rams coach Jeff Fisher didn't deny that the pick was historic, but indicated it was about talent.
"In a world of diversity we live in, I am honored to be a part of this," Fisher told ESPN.
But speaking to NFL Network immediately after the pick, he said: "I don't have any concern whatsoever. We drafted a good football player."
Sam came out as gay in February. He told his teammates and coaches before the season.
After Sam had to wait until the seventh round -- the third day of the NFL draft -- to be selected, video on ESPN showed his emotional response to finally being picked.
In the video, taken at his agent's home in San Diego, he is surrounded by his family and friends and repeatedly hugs and kisses his boyfriend.