It seemed like Michael Sam was on the fast track to NFL glory when the openly gay player was drafted by the St. Louis Rams earlier this year. And although many hoped that the defensive end would make the final cut for the team, Sam was officially cut just minutes before the NFL’s mandated roster deadline.
According to the Associated Press, Sam and 20 others were cut by the team on Saturday, with Sam being narrowly beaten out by undrafted Ethan Westbrooks.
Despite being cut by the team, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher explained in a press conference after the cuts that he had nothing but respect and high hopes for Sam.
“I will tell you this: I was pulling for Mike,” Fisher said. “I really was, and I don’t say that very often. Mike came in here and did everything we asked him to do.”
Following his cut on Saturday, the 7th-round draft picked entered a 24-hour waiver period in which all 31 NFL teams had a chance to put in a claim to sign him to their roster instead. However, since no team put in a claim, Sam will likely end up on the Rams’ practice squad, where he will continue to work with Rams staff to perfect his skills on the field. He would then wait week-to-week as other NFL teams considered picking him up or until the Rams activated him for a game.
Regardless of whether Sam is eventually signed by the Rams or another team, Fisher says that “there will be no challenge, no challenges whatsoever” for Sam.
“He’s not about drawing attention to himself,” Fisher said. “He kept his head down and worked and you can’t ask anything more out of any player for that matter.”
And Sam has taken the news of his cut with grace as he shared his thoughts on the saddening news via his Twitter page.
Indeed, this isn’t necessarily the end of Sam’s NFL career and we hope his continued hard work eventually pays off with a contract from an NFL team. – nicholas robinson