Michael Sam Makes Historic NFL Preseason Debut: ‘I Can Play in This League’ – VIDEO

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With 5 minutes, 13 seconds to go in the first quarter of a match-up against the St. Louis Rams and New Orleans Saints last night, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player in league history to participate in a NFL preseason game.

As defensive end, Sam played the rest of the first half and about halfway through the third quarter.

Watch Sam's debut, AFTER THE JUMP

Although some scouts continue to question Sam's long-term professional potential, ESPN reports Sam's coach seemed pleased with his initial performance.

"Mike played hard," coach Jeff Fisher said. "I didn't watch him individually but I saw him on the hurry and the great effort outside the pocket. Saw him on a couple other plays. He slid down and made a play in the run game that stood out. We'll watch the tape and see how he did."  

The Rams ultimately lost the game 26-24, but Sam said he had some valuable takeaways from the night: 

"That I can play in this league," Sam said. "That's the most important. I was kind of nervous. I got some nerves out today. It was a very good learning experience, and I can play in this league."

He added:

"The hardest critic is me, myself. I think I could have done a little bit better. I'm not mad about my first game, but I know I could have done better." 

Sam will have three more preseason chances to secure a spot on the Rams' roster before the season starts in September.