Several legendary NFL players have spoken out in support of gay player Michael Sam, who is tipped to be drafted next week.

Sam came out as gay in February, saying that he wanted to be open and honest about who he was.

Hall of Famer Art Shell told Associated Press yesterday: “I don’t think he’ll have any problem in the locker room. I don’t think he’ll have any problems on the field.

“The one thing about football players, they’re inclusive. They will take you for who you are, not what people try to portray you as.

“It’s who you are: ‘You’re a football player, then you can play with us.’ I don’t see that as being a problem in the National Football League.”

Lions running back Barry Sanders said: “From the time you’re a kid and you start playing, you’re almost programmed for ‘Can a guy play or not?’

“By the time you get to the NFL, that’s well ingrained. I’m pretty sure every guy in this league has been around gay individuals before, and so I don’t think it will be much different.”

Giants linebacker Harry Carson brought up his deceased teammate Roy Simmons, who came out after retiring.

He said: “It never really swayed anyone’s opinion of him, but it’s something he lived with and he didn’t have to by himself because he had teammates, and the teammates he had were guys who supported him.

“Even though he never said anything, we’re a team and guys on the team who are unselfish are going to support their teammates regardless of how they choose to live their lives.”