Where could Michael Sam thrive?

Belichick demands a lot from his players, and he does not tolerate any foolishness that detracts from the team's ultimate goal. It is his way or the highway. Players understand that. They might not adore Belichick the man, but they respect Belichick the coach. Three Lombardi Trophies will do that.

The Seattle Seahawks are another example. The Seahawks' culture is vastly different than the Patriots', but it is obviously one that has proved successful. Seattle coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have created an atmosphere in which the players regard each other as brothers. It isn't just lip service. They believe in one another. They thrived last season by truly believing it was them against the world.

And it worked.

The Philadelphia Eagles are another possibility. The Eagles withstood the first major crisis of the Chip Kelly era -- Riley Cooper's racial epithet -- because Michael Vick touted the power of second chances and forgiveness. Cooper's remark could have shattered the Eagles' locker room last season, but it didn't.

Last season in Philadelphia was all about the program, the program, the program. With each win, it became easier to believe in what Kelly was preaching. That's why a team that finished 4-12 in Andy Reid's final season was able to win the NFC East one year later. Not everybody was friends with Cooper, but Eagles players knew he could help them win. That's what mattered most.

There are undoubtedly other organizations that would welcome Sam. The New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants -- teams with proven head coaches, veteran quarterbacks and established cultures -- immediately come to mind.

Ultimately, whichever team decides to draft Sam or sign him as an undrafted free agent will do so for one reason: It believes he can help win football games. In the end, nothing else should matter, even if it won't necessarily be easy.

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