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Giants’ Jerry Reese Couldn’t Care Less About Michael Sam’s Sexual Orientation: ‘Let’s Talk Football’

February 22nd, 2014 at 3:00 PM
By Dan Benton

As expected, when New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese took the podium for his NFL Combine press conference on Saturday, he was riddled with questions about Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam and his sexual orientation. However, Reese was far less interested in talking about Sam's sexual orientation than he was in discussing his ability on the football field.

mmtzjr69out / Foter / CC BY

Ultimately, Reese refused to address Sam's "coming out."

"I'm not talking about that. If you want to talk about him as a football player that's fine," Reese said. "What people do in their personal life, I'm not concerned about that."

Unfortunately, members of the media weren't all that interested in discussing Michael Sam the football players so much as Michael Sam the first openly gay NFL Draft prospect. But, as a softball question, one member tossed out an inquiry about Sam winning SEC Defensive Player of the Year — but that was it.

"You gotta be a pretty good football player if you win that, it seems to me," Reese said. "So our evaluation is that he's a good football player."

And so ended the line of questioning about Sam.

With all the talk about Sam and the impact he'll will have on an NFL locker-room, the media seemed far more interested in potential drama than his ability on a football field. And, when Sam ultimately took the podium, he expressed similar sentiments to Jerry Reese.

"I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam the football player instead of Michael Sam the gay football player," he said.

It was in that moment that the reality of the situation became clear: other NFL players won't be the problem for Michael Sam, but the media certainly will. It's a story they will refuse to let go and exactly what Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas referenced when he discussed the concerns Michael Sam will bring to an NFL team. The questioning and inquiry will be overbearing and relentless as members of the media will thrive on this storyline.

But, on a football-specific level, Sam said he models himself after retired New York Giants defensive end and NFL Hall of Famer Michael Strahan. Sadly, you won't hear much about that because it's not relevant to his sexual orientation.

Ultimately, Sam held his own. He came across as calm, confident and humorous. He was just like every other guy and proved he'll be able to handle whatever comes next. Unfortunately, much of that won't focus on football … no matter where he's drafted.


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Tags: Football, Jerry Reese, Michael Sam, Michael Strahan, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Terrell Thomas

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23 Responses to “Giants’ Jerry Reese Couldn’t Care Less About Michael Sam’s Sexual Orientation: ‘Let’s Talk Football’”

  1.  Krow says:

    When it comes to the draft it’s a foregone conclusion that at least 20 to 25 guys will be gone by the time we pick at #12.

  2.  jerseyrich says:

    Assuming we draft where we are slated to (barring trades), Sam wont be an option for us with any of our top 3 picks….so who cares? If he’s there in the 4th when we pick, then we as Giants fans can start thinking about him. I still view him as a 3-4 olb who would be buried on our bench for 2 years.

    •  BillyS says:

      I like him as a player, but I agree he’s definitely a day 3 pick. He’s just 1 of those guys who seems like he was better suited against college competition than the pros. I don’t see the high ceiling on him that a blue chip prospect has. I do think he could be a successful player in the NFL, but it seems like some people think he’s going to be some kind of defensive stud and that simply isn’t the fact. Even before he came out he wasn’t viewed as highly. I think there’s a slight chance he could stay as a DE and play with his hand down, but I just don’t know if he’s athletic/strong enough to get off the line fast enough and could very well be forced to the outside.

      •  jerseyrich says:

        Yeah….we were discussing him here about a week ago and guys like osi and mathis were brought up as undersized DE’s who have had great success in the NFL. I think that they are the exception to the rule. Honestly, if we snagged a Cb and a couple of O-lineman in the first 3 rounds, id probably be looking at rb, lb, or wr in the 4th anyway.

        •  BillyS says:

          The first 2 picks *have* to be OT or CB. They’re both need and value picks in the 1st and 2nd round. I honestly don’t view DE as a huge need until the 3rd or 4th round. Justin Tuck was an early 3rd round pick. I believe we have the same draft position we had in 2005 (we gave our #1 (12th overall) to the Chargers). I’m sure we could find a DE that fell a bit who was projected to go a tad earlier. We’re in good position with this draft because there’s a little bit of everything, but the positions we need the most are ones that are fairly deep (i.e. linemen).

          •  GOAT56 says:

            That’s to be determined. On first look DE doesn’t appear to be as deep as those positions. So I could see us drafting a guy like Ealy (if he tests well) at 12 then still drafting a quality OL and CB in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.

  3.  Dirt says:

    Ultimately, Sam held his own. He came across as calm, confident and humorous. He was just like every other guy.

    But, but, he’s ghay! How can that be?!

    I don’t know squat, but why are so many down on the SEC DPOY?

    •  BillyS says:

      He doesn’t necessarily have the size or strength to stay at DE. His last year was very good, but he did very little his 3 previous years. I’m not saying it was an outlier, but his tape just isn’t phenomenal. I hope he does well and proves any naysayers wrong, but I just think he’s going to need to move to LB at the NFL level. The 2 comparisons I’ve heard thrown around with Michael Sam would be Elvis Dumervil and Robert Mathis. I think that makes sense.

    •  Dirt says:

      2013 Michael Sam Missouri 31 Solo, 17 Ast, 11.5 Sk
      2012J arvis Jones* Georgia 52 Solo, 33 Ast, 14.5 Sk, 1 Int
      2011 Morris Claiborne* Louisiana State 32 Solo, 19 Ast, 0.0 Sk, 6 Int
      2010 Patrick Peterson* Louisiana State 29 Solo, 13 Ast, 0.0 Sk, 4 Int
      2009 Rolando McClain* Alabama 53 Solo, 52 Ast, 4.0 Sk, 2 Int
      2008 Eric Berry Tennessee 7 Att, 37 Yds, 5.3 Avg, 0 TD
      2007 Glenn Dorsey* Louisiana State 34 Solo, 35 Ast, 7.0 Sk, 0 Int
      2006 Patrick Willis Mississippi 87 Solo, 50 Ast, 3.0 Sk, 0 Int
      2005 Demeco Ryans* Alabama 41 Solo, 35 Ast, 5.0 Sk, 1 Int


      Either the SEC is no longer the AAA of the NFL or this kid is in good company.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        The truth is that although it’s the SEC and Missouri had a great year that program isn’t what those other programs are considered expect for Ole Miss. But Willis had way more acclaim from early in his career than Sam. So I think there’s still a school basis.

        The problem is Sam hasn’t shown thus far a translation to OLB. The LB drills will be really important for him. As an undersized DE it’s difficult to be drafted before day 3.

        Plus what hurts Sam is this draft is just deep in talent and some quality players will drop into the 4th and 5th rounds.

  4.  GOAT56 says:

    I have long been for trading down a taking a guard because I thought there were two elite OTs then a drop in quality. But I was definitely incorrect about Lewan. He’s much more athletic than I expected and really doesn’t project far behind the top two OTs. I didn’t think we should move Pugh unless it was an elite talent, Lewan appears to be an elite talent. Now the question appears to be will Lewan still be around or will his red flags drop him on our board.

    I think watching the combine has value more detailed insight you get on some prospects than the actually drills themselves.

    •  Kettles78 says:

      Big knock on Lewan has been about pass protection against speed rushers

      •  GOAT56 says:

        If Lewan is drafted he’s going to be our RT. Maybe he moves to LT down the road but he would be our RT in 2014. Plus with that athleticism it’s probably a technique issue not an ability one.

  5.  fanfor55years says:

    Everything I hear these days from the Giants discourages me, especially everything Coughlin has to say. I have to admit that I no longer have confidence that they will make good decisions. TC’s recent pronouncements regarding Snee and the offense (though, hopefully, it’s all smoke that will clear eventually) are just plain troubling.

    •  Dirt says:

      Agreed, unfortunately.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I think it’s a situation where the Giants like always are keeping their options open. All TC said about Snee was regarding if Snee is healthy. I don’t expect Snee to be cleared by our doctors much like with Seubert a few years ago. And if Snee is cleared by our doctors he’s worth the 2 mil ish that I think his salary would be reduce to. We talked even more glowingly about Bradshaw and Jacobs before they were cut.

  6.  fanfor55years says:

    And once again, I hope someday we’ll hear what, exactly happened with Nicks. Reese practically escorted him out the door this afternoon and Coughlin’s distaste for him is quite obvious. These are the same guys who tolerated Plax and have stuck with plenty of others who had made questionable decisions. There must be a helluva story there because they’ve run this guy out of town. I hope they had a good reason.

    •  BillyS says:

      I definitely think there’s more than to the story than has been let on. The fact that they wouldn’t even entertain the thought of keeping him for 1 more year on a short term deal to rehab his value sounds suspicious. I think something happened that nobody is talking about yet because his stock has fallen so far and so fast that there has to be some major reason (other than what we’ve heard). I agree that it’s also hard to take what Coughlin has to say very seriously because there are times that he simply doesn’t make a good business or football move. Nobody except Snee or his family could say Snee deserves the money he’ll be getting…and this is a time where I think Reese should force his hand.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      Unfortunately I’m learning towards the issue is that Nicks gave questionable effort doing many games this year. Plax or any other of the players you speak of did that or at least none I can recall. I think that’s the ultimate no no in TC’s book. It’s just my conclusion but the only one that makes sense to me.

      I still think it all stems from signing Cruz first. You don’t sign your #2 WR first. I like Cruz and he’s a very good player but I think signing him first was a mistake.

      •  BillyS says:

        But Nicks was hurt and had to rehab his value. I completely believe 100% that if he had gone to all of his appointments, had a great locker room approach, hustled, and produced then he’d have his big contract. He did nothing to help his value and actually hurt it by being so negative. He had his chance and he blew it. But there has to be something more than that because we’ve had a bunch of guys who didn’t hustle that TC didn’t like, but this really seems worse than anything I’ve ever seen with him. Something had to have happened.

        •  GOAT56 says:

          I never agreed with that view. Teams already knew what he could do. He did have to stay healthy but also show the old Nicks which he really didn’t. I think once we paid Cruz he knew he was gone but we couldn’t afford or wouldn’t pay what he wanted.

          I don’t think we have had a bunch of guys who didn’t hustle. Not any players that were here a length of time. And not players that went from a hustler to dogging it.

      •  Eric S says:

        If Nicks is so emotionally fragile that his best bud getting paid first ( because he was a free agent) “upset” him then he should have put on his big boy pants and lit it up this year. Instead, he was a ghost. Again. For the second straight year.

        Imagine giving him #1 WR money after his injury riddled ’12 season and then watching him put up this $h!t show of a season this year. Reese would have been flayed and hung in effigy by people here. It was not a mistake to sign Cruz first. Reese was right to let Hakeem prove he can be both healthy and a #1 again. Nicks absolutely blew it.

        Personally, I think Nicks has lost his fire. He’s been banged up for 5 years and the miles are catching up. He’s made $11 million so far and he’s won a SB. He just saw Mike Wallace cash in big time coming off a pedestrian contract year and figured he wouldn’t have to open it up and risk injury to do the same. And he’s probably right. Enjoy Oakland or Cleveland Hakeem. Thanks for the memories.

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