Fisher says Sam hasn’t been a distraction


With Tony Dungy explaining that he wouldn’t have drafted Michael Sam because of the distractions that go along with having him on the team, the coach who drafted Sam has addressed whether and to what extent Sam has been a distraction.

“Absolutely not,” Jeff Fisher told ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning on Wednesday.   “Let’s define distraction.  There were a couple of extra cameras during early OTAs.  There may have been an extra camera yesterday as rookies reported and went on the field the first time.  Mike’s a very passionate athlete.  He’s very focused on trying to make this football team. . . . He worked really hard during the summer, and he’s doing a good job.”

Fisher, who said that there will be no limits placed on Sam’s media availability during training camp, nevertheless has no issue with Dungy’s view on the matter.

“I’m gonna assume some that maybe things were taken out of context,” Fisher said.  “But everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.  Coaches are going to have differences of opinion during the draft. . . .  I’m not concerned.  Tony’s entitled to his opinion as everybody is and so are and right now we think we have a pretty good thing going.”

The Rams may have such a good thing going that Sam won’t be good enough to make the roster.  Fisher has said in the past that cutting Sam would be as normal a part of the broader process as drafting him.  Fisher hinted during Wednesday’s interview that, even as Sam improves as a player, he ultimately may not be regarded as being good enough.

“Unfortunately, one part of this business is releasing players and upgrading the roster and so on and so forth,” Fisher said.  “We let three players go yesterday who really have only been here for probably a month.  They’re better football players than when we signed them, and that’s where Mike is right now.  He’s a better football player because he’s committed himself to making this football team.”

Even with no distractions to date, scrutiny will arise if Fisher ultimately cuts Sam — especially with all those Rams jerseys bearing his name already being purchased.  And that’s surely one of the distractions Dungy would have been concerned about, even if his initial comments on the matter were omitted from Ira Kaufman’s article in the Tampa Tribune or if Kaufman opted not to ask the follow-up questions that would have drawn a more complete explanation from Dungy.

Dungy will be able to give a more complete explanation soon.  He’s scheduled to join The Dan Patrick Show in the 9:00 a.m. ET hour.

59 responses to “Fisher says Sam hasn’t been a distraction

  1. Jeff Fisher may be my favorite active coach (hail Joe Gibbs), but I’m acutely aware of the fact that he said the same sorts of things about Pac Man Jones in the middle of his notorious rookie season.

  2. Scrutiny will arise if Fisher ultimately cuts Sam, only from certain types (read media) that thrive contrived controversy. I will know for certain that if he gets cut it will be a football decision. Fisher knows what he is doing and that is building a winning program.

  3. The fact that Sam even considered doing a show on what it’s like to be a gay player in the NFL – I’d be very worried about him becoming a distraction at some point. The fact is, every left leaning liberal super gay friendly magazine is going to be pushing him to make statements and do things he might not even want to do or say.

  4. To all the people saying “HA! That’s proof Sam is a distraction!” I feel like it should be said that NOBODY was talking about Michael Sam until Dungy said he thought it would be a distraction. Then everyone (not just the media) descended on his comments like a wild horde of savages.

  5. But when asked if being asked if Sam was a distraction everyday has become a distraction, Fisher laughed and raised his eyebrow saying “Well…”

  6. But what does Chris Kluwe think? Forget Fisher. Kluwe is the important voice in all of this Sam debate.

  7. The only thing relevant is his football playing ability…

    Because if he isn’t good enough he won’t be around…

  8. If he said that Sam was a distraction, then the real distraction going forward would have been the media’s criticism of Fisher for saying that Sam was a distraction.

  9. 6 of 10 current PFT most commented articles are about people being offended about something! Great stuff.

  10. The distraction everyone is most concerned about it (or talking about when they say distraction) is the one caused by the media continually asking about him to players and coaches and constantly reporting about. Then it builds into “something” when someone (in this case Dungy) says something that they can run with. Whether what the person says actually means anything “bad” or not.

    The irony is the ones reporting about people’s reactions to the how to deal with the distraction, and if there really should be any distraction, are the very people causing it.
    It’s an obvious conflict of interest.

    Without looking it up, how is the player drafted one pick after Sam fitting in with his new team?
    Bet you don’t know his name.

  11. The gist of Dungy’s statement is that the media is going to cause trouble by following Sam around every minute and hounding everyone else on the team for opinions and insights regarding Sam. Since TC hasn’t even started up yet, it hasn’t had a chance to occur. Perhaps we can revisit the issue after Training Camp and Pre-Season are under way.

  12. Tony Dungy only gave his thoughts because someone asked him. He didn’t go on a blog and just start typing or ask for a microphone to proclaim his view.

  13. Dungy, something of a religious zealot to begin with, would have been wise to stop and think before he made blurted out his dumb comment. Could have saved himself some well deserved grief.

  14. Don’t understand how the media attention that your Tim Tebow’s and Johnny Manziel’s bring is totally ok, but if Sam brings any extra media coverage he is perceived as a distraction. Sure he is a late round pick, but the principle of it doesn’t change.

  15. So Dungy will help out scum like Vick and claim his history isn’t a “distraction”, but a gay player is too much of a “distraction”?

    Yeah right. Haven’t heard a word about Sam all summer until this, which Dungy artificially created.

  16. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and after an opinion is given everyone is in titled to their opinion on that opinion. My opinion is that know ones opinions are being jeopardized by other peoples opinions. So opinion on opinioners.

  17. As far as I can tell the only time Sam is getting press is when someone says something stupid about him being on an NFL team. Usually people that aren’t involved with the team that he’s on. Media attention? I have hardly seen any since he was drafted. All I keep reading about is Josh Gordon and Manziel. Sam has barely been mentioned, so how is he a distraction? The man is working and shows up to work hard every day. I thought his response to Dungy’s comments showed a lot of character.

    Don’t blame Micheal Sam because the media has nothing else to do right now.

  18. Who cares. We are taking a step backwards when we give this much attention to this. This should be normal for us. He is a 7th round pick that wouldn’t make any team if he were straight. Lets move on from this.

  19. Oh yeah, that whole Oprah documentary situation, when other Rams players were being asked about it, wasn’t a distraction. But read between the lines, Fisher already set the stage for the eventual release of Sam. It’s clear he didn’t want Sam, he was pressured to draft him, probably from Gooddell.

  20. The proof that Sam is a distraction is in part in this article. Pretty much any left leaning media site will have the little hint that if he is cut there will be questions. He’s a distraction that doesn’t leave when he leaves the team. And weather he wants to be or not if Sam gets cut he will be forced by those in the media to become another kluwe loud mouth. If the kid came in and just got to play, nobody, dungy included, would care. But since he’s already got the media forcing the rams to keep him or be punished, yes he is a distraction

  21. Why would he say anything different? He’s not going to admit it after drafting him. Sam may not be an incarnate distraction, but media and lockerroom and fans. How does that affect the rest of the team? We’ll find out soon.

  22. Funny to see people contrasting Fisher and Tony Dungy. Did you know they’re actually quite good friends? And those who knock Dungy’s devout faith apparently don’t know that Michael Sam’s biggest advocate, Jeff Fisher, shares the same faith.

  23. So when does an honest opinion becomes a dumb comment? He (Sam) created some of this media “distraction” by inviting the media into his private world instead of simply focusing on what he originally proclaimed he wanted to be: A football player instead of a gay football player.

  24. Michael Sam wasn’t a distraction…until Tony Dungy said he wouldn’t draft him because of what a distraction he would be, thereby turning Michael Sam into a distraction, which distracted Fisher from his job so he could do this interview, in which he claimed that Sam isn’t a distraction.

    Please let’s just put the pads on and play ball.

  25. Tony Dungy did not say that Michael Sam was the distraction. Tony Dungy said that the media attention surrounding Michael Sam was the distraction.

    There is a difference, and Dungy accurately pointed this out.

    It is fair to assert that Sam brought some of this attention on himself deliberately and on purpose. The fact that Sam ended up backing off of the reality show was a smart move, and at least gives Fisher the comfort of knowing that Sam wants to concentrate on making the team instead of making a statement on social issues.

  26. You know…this whole he’s only answering a question he was asked stance is a silly. We’ve shredded people on this site and comment section for saying less than Dungy while only answering a question asked.

    I don’t think that if that’s the way of the world now and we pick apart what people say when asked by comparing past quotes than Dungy had some explaining to do. He has, it’s over and it never was a big deal but he should have had to respond considering he has spoke about a christian view towards gay marriage and has actively pushed for larger distractions to be signed by teams. Just released from jail criminals have recieved his endorsement….I realize Sam didn’t need his endorsement but for a man respected in the NFL like Dungy is to say he wouldn’t have drafted him does matter. He should and should want to elaborate on his comments.

  27. He better make the team because if you really wanna see media distraction, Fisher? Cut him and see what happens.

    For the record, I hope Sam does make it. But this isn’t about Sam. It’s about the media.

  28. Not an expert on US-media, because I´m from Germany, but isn´t the media-attention to the NFL already on his maximum?
    I mean, what are the big broadcasters going to do? Double the people who cover the rams? The whole “Sam is a distraction” argument is baloney.

  29. I see one similarity between Sam and Tebow: The problems seem to be all caused by his supporters.

    Sam himself, other than the whole “feeding each other cake” thing on draft day which was clearly a political statement on gay marriage, has not really done anything that can be criticized.

    The problem is the media and gay rights activists who are trying to take this and make it into a juggernaut for “advancing the cause”. They are doing it by over covering him and more importantly, trying to destroy anyone who has a different opinion. I think most people, even those who dont think that its morally right, really dont care if the man is gay if he can play. I know I wouldn’t. But the persistent tarring and feathering of anyone who disagrees with the “gay is good” agenda, no matter how mild, is wrong.

    This tactic of we’re going to try to shut down any debate by shouting down anyone that disagrees needs to stop.

  30. Tony Dungy made those comments immediately after he contracted a reality show with Oprah. By shutting the show down, Jeff Fisher basically acknowledged Dungy was right.

  31. Season hasn’t started. Dungy didn’t say the player would be a distraction. He said the media would cause it. And ironically enough. It’s already started. Just imagine of this was on a game week.

  32. ‘Fisher says Sam hasn’t been a distraction’

    Oh please…The kid is a walking circus act. I’m not saying that this is Michael Sam’s fault but you can’t deny the media’s obsession with this this story from Day One.

  33. ‘dirtymcgirty says: Jul 23, 2014 11:16 AM

    Tony Dungy made those comments immediately after he contracted a reality show with Oprah. By shutting the show down, Jeff Fisher basically acknowledged Dungy was right.’


    That’s a great point.

  34. Fisher seems confident this will not be a distraction. There’s an old military saying “Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation”. Sort of like the Bronco’s felt, before the SB kick off.

  35. Dungy’s comments ARE NOT the distraction. He didn’t create all this. The media took those comments and tried to make something out of them that wasn’t there. Thanks again, media. The media made it a distraction trying to squash any similar opinion out there.

  36. Just wait till you cut him. Then all hell is gonna break loose. You will be dealing with all kinds of protesters and gay rights activists saying it’s discriminatory and not understand he is not that good enough player in the NFL. Glad he is getting his chance but this is bound to be even more of a media circus than it already is.

  37. As far as I can tell Michael Sam is just trying to make the football team while Tony Dungy has been on 3 different programs in as many days to talk about his comments. The media, as always, is the one causing the “distractions” and bringing the focus away from the football field. Leave the kid alone, for God’s sake.

  38. he also made the initial comments when the Michael sam reality show stuff was going on, which was on Michael sam. he allowed O into his living room and if you don’t think that she helped increase the press he was getting you are crazy. he made the right decision to not do it, but at the same time he was just as much at fault for that media circus getting out of control

    Dungy is allowed to have an opinion here. he is not employed by the NFL as a coach or someone hiring/firing. Sam is a 7th round pick and if you have seen him on tape you 100 percent understand why that is. he is a long shot. it has nothing to do with sexual orientation but much like tebow it IS a distraction.

  39. Does anyone know who the Rams first round pick was …. or second pick … Or third pick … But we know who the 7th round pick is …

  40. Fisher is one of the most overrated coaches in the history of the game. Rams will be mediocre at best again this year, but it won’t be Fisher’s fault, somehow.

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