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Rams leave Michael Sam off practice squad ... so what's next for him?

Eric Edholm
Shutdown Corner

The St. Louis Rams named the 10 players they signed to their practice squad. Michael Sam was not one of them.

The team made Sam one of its final cuts on Saturday and met with him the following day, but it apparently doesn't have interest at this time in signing Sam.

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Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said Sam's release Saturday was for "football reasons" and had cited the team's injuries on the offensive line and secondary as reasons why the team was concerned about its depth at other spots and couldn't keep more than 10 defensive linemen on the roster.

But not on the practice squad either?

Sam was unclaimed by the other 31 NFL teams and remains a free agent, with no teams offering a practice squad spot — despite those rosters increasing this season from eight to 10 players per team — with nearly every slot around the league believed to be filled.

Does this mean Sam's NFL shot has passed him by? Not necessarily. He had three sacks in the preseason, none of them gifts, and didn't play poorly otherwise. Sam put some decent tape out there to be considered.

But he is what he is: a left defensive end who likely can't hold up for three downs in the NFL and has little to no special teams value. Still, there are teams that value pass-rush specialists, and it's surprising that he hasn't been brought in, even for a look.

The NFL can be a cold place, and it's not just about Sam's sexuality, as many have speculated. Wideout Stephen Hill, a 2012 second-round pick (43rd overall), just passed through waivers after being released and yet to find a team — although he worked out for the Carolina Panthers on Monday.

Windows can close shockingly fast in this league. And there's little doubt that a team would have to have been fairly impressed with Sam's preseason performance to add him to their practice squad, knowing that a horde of media will follow with questions about a player who is not even on their active roster.

It would be disappointing, though hardly shocking, if Sam must wait a while for another NFL opportunity. But he always has been a fighter, from having members of his family die and land in prison, to making himself into a player from unheralded beginnings at the University of Missouri. It almost wouldn't be worth the end result if Sam didn't have to try to scratch and claw his way onto a roster.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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