It's been almost a year since Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, and in the months since, things haven't gone quite according to plan.
Sam was cut by the St. Louis Rams before he ever had a chance to play a down in a regular season game.
Worse, he was suggested to homophobic online harassment that served as a reminder of how much progress the sports world needs to make in terms of accepting athletes of every background and sexual orientation.
But the various obstacles that Sam has faced in pursuit of his dream have made him even more of a role model to gay athletes and members of the LGBT community in general, and he now says that his struggle is more common than many fans might think.
In an interview published today by the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, Sam revealed that several gay NFL players who have not yet come out contacted him over the past year to thank him for his bravery and offer words of encouragement.
"I am not the only gay person in the NFL," Sam said. "I'm just saying there is a lot of us.
"I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.
"I will never say anything about who they are, what teams the are on. I'm just saying there's some famous people, and I'm not the only one."
Earlier this week, Sam participated in the NFL's Veteran Combine along with many other free agents. He ran a 4.99 second 40-yard dash and told reporters he has no intention of giving on his dream of playing professional football.