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Posted: Monday, 10 February 2014 1:50PM

Michelle Obama Praises 'Courage' of Gay NFL Prospect

Chuck Kennedy / The White House(WASHINGTON) -- First lady Michelle Obama on Monday tweeted her praise of All-American defensive end Michael Sam’s “courage” for publicly announcing that he is gay. 

 “-mo” denotes that the first lady composed the tweet herself.

Sam came out as gay Sunday in interviews with ESPN and The New York Times. As a senior defensive end at Missouri, Sam earned first-team AP All-American status after leading the Southeastern Conference with 11.5 total sacks in 2013.

Sam projects as a mid-round pick in this May’s upcoming NFL draft. Along with fellow Mizzou DE Kony Ealy, a junior who declared early for the NFL draft this year, Sam was part of the most prolific pass-rushing duo in what was widely regarded as the nation’s best college-football conference in 2013. Perhaps undersized as a traditional defensive end at the pro level -- he was listed at 6-foot-2, 255 pounds on Mizzou’s college roster -- Sam worked out as a linebacker at last month’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and reportedly struggled in that role.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bryan Burwell, sports reporters in Missouri suspected that Sam was gay during his 2013 campaign. He declined to attend media days and give interviews for almost all of the season.

Michelle Obama similarly tweeted congratulations to NBA player Jason Collins after he came out in April 2013.

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