Swinney: I had gay teammates at Alabama

CLEMSON, S.C. (WACH) - Clemson coach Dabo Swinney says he is looking for the best football players regardless of their sexual orientation.

On Thursday, in an interview on "The Morning Show" with Jason Bailey and Randy Cross on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, Swinney was asked about former Missouri standout Michael Sam's announcement that he is gay.

"To be honest with you I don't get in all that stuff," Swinney said during the radio interview. "I don't think it is anyone's business what their sexual orientation is. This is football. I have a lot of personal beliefs that I believe in, but I can't transfer those to the football field. On 3rd and 2, or 3rd and 15 you need the best football player."

Swinney says he had teammates he believed to be gay when he was a wide receiver at the University of Alabama from 1990-92. He also believes he has likely coached a few gay players at Clemson.

"A football team is really just a reflection of society. It really is. You've got 118, 120 guys on the team, you got a little bit of everything. That's your job as a teammate, your job as a coach to bring all that together. It's not just sexual orientation. It's religious beliefs, it's background, culture. Y ou are just talking about one thing," said Swinney. "That's what makes football great. Football is the ultimate team sport. There is nothing that brings race, religion, and all that stuff together like the game of the football."

Michael Sam was the SEC leader in quarterback sacks and tackles for loss this season and was voted the SEC Co-Defensive player of the year. He is projected as a mid-round draft pick.

If he makes a team this fall, Sam would be the fist openly gay player in the NFL.

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