SANTA CLARA -- For all the historic words written about Michael Sam's milestone foray into the NFL, there's also this: he is now a NFC West rival of the 49ers.

The St. Louis Rams will give Sam his first shot at becoming the NFL's first openly gay player.

Sam, a University of Missouri product, was drafted in the seventh round with the 249th overall pick. Only seven more picks remained in the draft, and 42 outside linebackers/defensive ends went ahead of him.

The 49ers, who visit the Rams on Oct. 13 and host them Nov. 2 at Levi's Stadium, took to Twitter to post their reactions Saturday.

"If you can play ball you will be drafted. Doesn't matter what your sexual preference is. " wideout Kassim Osgood posted.

FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2014, file photo, Missouri’s All-American defensive end Michael Sam claps during the Cotton Bowl trophy presentation at
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2014, file photo, Missouri's All-American defensive end Michael Sam claps during the Cotton Bowl trophy presentation at halftime of an NCAA college basketball game between Missouri and Tennessee in Columbia, Mo. Sam was selected in the seventh round, 249th overall, by the St. Louis Rams in the NFL draft Saturday, May 10, 2014. The Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year last season for Missouri came out as gay in media interviews this year. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson, File) ( L.G. Patterson )

Linebacker Darius Fleming wrote: "Congrats to Michael Sam. At the end of the day we are all football players and the guy can play ball."

Sam revealed he was gay in February, shortly before the NFL's scouting combine in Indianapolis. He was the Southeastern Conference's co-defensive player of the year.

Sam totaled 11 ½ sacks his final season at Missouri, as was the case with Aldon Smith before the 49ers selected him in the first round of the 2011 draft.

Sam's stock wasn't enhanced by his size (6-foot-2, 261 pounds) or speed (4.72-second in the 40-yard dash). He was projected as a late-round draft pick by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.


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"Whenever anyone steps out and does something of that nature, I certainly think there is an element of courage that goes along with that," general manager Trent Baalke said of Sam last month. "That's an issue that is continually being addressed, not only in the National Football League but in society."

For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CamInman.