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February 10, 2014
Baalke, 49ers "commend" Missouri's Michael Sam for courage

Trent Baalke joined a chorus of NFL owners and top evaluators today in commending Missouri defensive end Michael Sam for revealing he is gay. The 49ers general manager said the 49ers would use the same criteria in evaluating Sam they do every prospective rookie.

"The 49ers commend Michael for the courage he has displayed as he continues to pursue his NFL career," Baalke said in a statement. "We have and will continue to evaluate him as we do every eligible player, which is always based on their projected contribution to our team on and off the field."

The 255-260-pound Sam led the Tigers with 11 1/2 sacks last season. He told teammates in August he was gay, and in December they voted him their MVP. He projects to outside linebacker in the 49ers' scheme.

Baalke and the 49ers last year used a third-round pick on Corey Lemonier, who along with Dan Skuta provided good depth at outside linebacker in 2013. They don't have a pressing need at the position and likely would not use a high draft pick there unless they were sure that player was an upgrade over Lemonier.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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