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Mark Madden

A HELPING HAND

 
A HELPING HAND

In my column at timesonline.com, I suggest that the NFL puts the fix in on behalf of Michael Sam, who goes into this year’s draft hoping to become the league’s first openly gay player. Given chance, the old-school fools who assemble NFL rosters will find a way to exclude the gay guy. That can’t happen.
 
The Steelers would be an excellent team for Sam. The team has stable ownership and administration. Dan Rooney’s devout Catholicism might be tempered by Pope Francis being very inclusive regarding gays. Mike Tomlin could definitely handle the situation.
 
Sam has talent. As a senior at Missouri, he was SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He must switch from defensive end to outside linebacker. That’s a difficult transition. There's a lot to learn, especially when it comes to pass coverage.
 
The Steelers have exactly the guy to help Sam make that move.
 
Newly-hired assistant Joey Porter made the same switch when he came to the Steelers from Colorado State in 1999. Porter put together an excellent 13-year NFL career. He's a good man.
 
The NFL has to make this work. The Steelers and the Rooney family have always seen the bigger picture. Perhaps that can again be the case.


Photos Courtesy of Getty Images

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