In 1972, he was drafted in the first round by the Houston Oilers as a defensive end. In 1974, he switched to offensive tackle and steadily improved, until he became second team ALL-AFC in 1978. But then during a 1979 pre-season drill with his teammates, his helmet was struck and a blood clot in the brain developed. A surgical intervention removed it, probably saving his life, but he could no longer play and retired after the 1979 season.
In 2010, Sampson was voted by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times as the Houston Oilers best offensive lineman in the history of the team.