Hamstring doesn't hamper Michael Sam's Pro Day

Thursday, March 20, 2014 | 8:12 p.m. CDT; updated 5:41 p.m. CDT, Friday, April 11, 2014
Scouts, teammates and media gather to watch former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam perform the bench press during Pro Day on Thursday.

*A section was added to explain that the increased media interest in Michael Sam was because of his announcement about being gay.

COLUMBIA — Michael Sam walked out of the Devine Practice Facility just before 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The four words he said to his agents Joe Barkett and Cameron Weiss made clear how draining his four-plus hours of Pro Day had been.

Michael Sam Pro Day

Michael Sam's statistics from Thursday's Pro Day

40-yard dash: 4.69 seconds

Vertical jump: 30 inches

Bench press of 225 pounds: 19 reps

Statistics according to Sam's agents, via Twitter

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"These legs — they shot," Sam said.

His right leg was more than just tired. Sam injured his right hamstring during the 40-yard dash.

"I don’t think it’s that serious," Barkett said while Sam went through positional drills. "He’s out there right now doing linebacker drills and running around and working out. If it was too serious, he would be out."

Sam also seemed to be in good spirits despite the injury, although he did not speak with the media Thursday.

The All-American defensive end is known for singing during Missouri football practices, and that did not stop during Pro Day.

He sang a line Thursday from Mariah Carey's hit "Beautiful" that seemed pertinent with the importance of showing improvement since the NFL Combine.

While sitting on aluminum bleachers as other teammates did their drills, Sam sang: "I can't pretend that doesn't mean a thing to me, to me."

Despite dozens of media in attendance including ESPN's Shelley Smith and Missouri's Pro Day being broadcast live, Sam did not conduct interviews Thursday. He did interject into the Missourian's interview with Weiss that Missouri's strength coach Pat Ivey deserves credit for his improved 40-yard time.

The increased media interest in Sam was because of his recent announcement about being a homosexual just over a month earlier.

His 40 time Thursday was 4.69 seconds in spite of the injury. It is an improvement of 0.22 seconds from the NFL Combine on Feb. 24.

Sam's new time bested fellow Missouri defensive lineman Kony Ealy's 4.77 time, according to Missouri coach Gary Pinkel's Twitter account.

Sam also improved his bench press by two reps to 19, and his vertical jump increased by 6 1/2 inches to 30 inches, according to the Twitter account for Sam's agents.

"We feel great about how things went," Weiss said. "Despite tweaking his hammy, he improved every major area that we wanted to after leaving the combine. He demonstrated how hard he worked over the last month and what type of athlete that he is."

An official from the Cleveland Browns showed particular interest in Sam on Thursday. He gave Sam a red scan sheet and other paperwork to complete at the end of the Pro Day. Weiss took Sam to the Missouri Athletics Training Complex training room to complete the paperwork.

Barkett and Weiss said they have no individual workouts currently scheduled with NFL teams, but they expect that to change after Sam's performance Thursday.

Before Sam left Devine, he hugged a half-dozen friends and signed a Sports Illustrated cover for a fan. 

"I get a hug from Michael every time I see him," said Gayle Johnson, who is retired and a longtime Missouri football season ticket holder. "Things have gone well for him. I'm happy for him. ... He's a great person and a player."

Sam walked off the artificial turf at Devine after hugging Johnson and giving the autograph.

He took a couple steps into the hallway but stopped. He turned and came back to slap the black and gold sign over the practice field entrance. 

It read, "Battle Tested — War Ready!"

Supervising editor is Sean Morrison.

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