Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted into the National Football League (NFL), recently said that the NFL has “a lot” of gay players.

The 25-year-old Sam, the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, was cut by the St. Louis Rams before the start of the season. He then joined the Cowboys' 10-man practice squad, where he stayed for seven weeks before being let go. Sam participated over the weekend in the NFL's veterans combine in Phoenix, Arizona.

“I am not the only gay person in the NFL,” Sam is quoted as saying by the Star-Telegram. “I'm just saying there is a lot of us. I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.”

On the decision to come out, Sam said that he thought it wouldn't be a “big deal.”

“Maybe I was naive,” he said. “Maybe I thought it was 2014, and people will understand that there's gay NFL players. There's gay athletes everywhere. But I was clearly wrong. It was a huge deal.”

“The players who have reached out to me and told me about their sexual orientation, it just means a lot. But I will never say anything about who they are, what teams they are [on]. I’m just saying there’s some famous people, and I’m not the only one,” he added.