Sam was released by the Rams, the team announced, after an afternoon of suspense when it looked like he might survive Saturday's NFL cutdown day. Sam, a defensive end, is hoping to become the NFL's first openly gay player.
That dream, at least in the technical sense of appearing in a regular-season game, will wait. He is likely to land on the Rams' practice squad, unless some team claims him off waivers.
Sam, who was a seventh-round pick by the Rams in May, played well in the preseason. Sam had a sack against Green Bay, and then two more against the Browns. He led the Rams with six tackles in the final preseason game. He had a tough road to make the Rams, however, especially when undrafted end Ethan Westbrooks also had a great preseason. The Rams are one of the NFL's deepest teams on the defensive line, and Sam faced a lot of competition to earn a spot on the roster. The Rams cut each of their last four draft picks, including sixth-round pick quarterback Garrett Gilbert and all three seventh round picks.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher said there was no distraction with Sam, as some ignorantly predicted there would be, and Fisher praised Sam's ability.
Sam, the SEC's defensive player of the year, played well enough in the preseason that it seems he could find his way onto a 53-man roster during the regular season at some point. But that history will have to wait a bit.
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- Michael Sam