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Pinkel, Mizzou applaud Michael Sam's courage

(AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File)

By R.B. FALLSTROM

AP Sports Writer

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) Missouri coach Gary Pinkel says Michael Sam revealed he was gay at one of the football team's get-acquainted dinners last summer.

Pinkel left the next move up to the senior who blossomed into one of the best defensive ends in the country - and one surrounded by teammates who didn't worry one bit about sexual orientation or reveal his secret until he came out on Sunday.

Pinkel, athletic director Mike Alden and other school officials applauded Sam's courage Monday at Faurot Field.

Pinkel says he hopes Sam's decision will not hurt him in the NFL draft, and said no teams have contacted him. Sam has been projected as a mid-level draft pick.

Updated February 10, 2014

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