Michael Sam's agent has revealed he was forced to come out in public earlier than had been planned.
Sam is set to become the first 'out' player in the NFL following his announcement that he is gay on Sunday evening.
The 24-year-old completed his college football career recently and should be drafted by an NFL franchisee in May.
According to his agent Joe Barkett, Sam was forced to make an announcement earlier than he wanted to because rumours about his sexuality began to surface.
Barkett confirmed that the original plan had been to make an announcement after the draft.
"I think the timing of Mike's announcement was really based off of the reactions that we've received the last few weeks from not only front-office personnel, but journalists, as well," Barkett told "NFL AM" Monday morning.
"When we were in Mobile [Alabama] for the Senior Bowl,Michael was being approached by people left and right by people trying to break his story, and it was something Mike wanted to do after the draft originally.
"Then we kind of regrouped and discussed if Mike would still be able to do it on his terms at that point in time. And Mike and the rest of us felt that now this time was a little more appropriate where he could take control of the situation instead of being forced to tell his story after somebody else had broken it."
The defensive linesman at the University of Missouri's Mizzou Tigers admitted it was a "weight of his chest" when he made his announcement to the world.
Barkett added that several representatives from NFL teams had told him that they had started to hear rumours about Sam's sexuality.
"After what happened down in Alabama, we spoke to several scouts and personnel for teams, and they all stated to us that they had an idea, but didn't know for sure," Barkett explained. "And that they didn't think it would affect his draft stock very much."
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