Kluwe said reports that Sam's draft stock could drop because he revealed his sexual orientation "basically could have been lifted from any American sporting paper in the 1940s when Jackie Robinson was about to enter Major League Baseball. It's like we've been here before. Why do we have to keep doing the same thing?"
Sam will likely face even more scrutiny from opponents' fans than Chargers linebacker Manti Te'o did after getting fooled by a hoax involving a fake girlfriend while at Notre Dame.
What will help Sam is landing on a team with strong veteran leadership, something that was lacking in Miami, where tackle Jonathan Martin walked away at midseason, alleging guard Richie Incognito led daily harassment with racial, aggressive and sexually charged comments. Incognito was suspended for the final eight games and Martin's career was thrown in limbo.
Former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley said Sam's performance on the field and as a teammate should quickly overshadow any stereotypes about sexual orientation.
"I don't think he faces any challenges as a player. I don't think he faces a lot of challenges as a person," Cooley said. "I think once he establishes himself as the kind of teammate he's going to be, I think everybody will accept it fine."
Eagles All-Pro guard Evan Mathis said Sam will face obstacles no matter what.
"NFL players shouldn't judge Michael Sam based on his sexuality but some guys will. MLB players shouldn't have judged Jackie Robinson based on his skin color but some did," Mathis said. "Whether or not the NFL is ready for it, it needs to happen. There are still people on this Earth who lived through the prohibition of alcohol and the Civil Rights movement. They can look back and reflect on how primitive those times were.
"Current generations will look back at marijuana prohibition and gays having to fight for equal rights and think how primitive those times were."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi and Dave Campbell and AP Sports Writers Kurt Voigt, Genaro Armas Joseph White and Janie McCauley contributed.