Michael Sam penned an open letter to the Columbia Missourian on Thursday thanking the University of Missouri and its fans for all their support after he publicly announced he was gay.
Sam asked for the letter to be published on the same day that he and other Missouri teammates were working out for NFL prospects during the school's pro day.
Here's what Sam wrote:
To my fellow University of Missouri students, athletes, faculty, alumni and supporters:
From my first recruiting trip to the University of Missouri, I felt something extraordinary and special — something I didn't feel anyplace else.
I didn't have a name for it then; I do now. It's called family.
And to me that family is defined by unconditional love.
Certainly you cheered my successes, but you also picked me up when I fell.
Maybe most importantly, you gave me a chance to live my truth without judgment, without hesitation and with great discretion and respect.
When I came out last month, I did it with the confidence that my Mizzou "family" would always be there for me.
To put it mildly, the love and acceptance I felt was amazing.
The day after the announcement, my name was spelled out in the stadium; fraternities hung #StandWithSam banners; then when I went to the basketball game to honor the football team's Cotton Bowl victory, I worked hard not to cry because of the amazing reception.
I have a long journey ahead of me, a lot of hard work and many dreams I want to fulfill.
But I do it with the confidence that my Mizzou family will be there for me every step of the way.
I will continue to work my hardest; I will strive to make you all proud.
And I will be a Tiger forever.