Michael Sam has done all he can, and now the seventh round draft pick will find out if he becomes the first openly gay player to suit up in the NFL regular season.
Sam made a strong case on Thursday night to make the Rams’ 53-man roster, leading the team with six tackles in a 14-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The team was thin at defensive end with injuries to primary backups William Hayes and Eugene Sims, and the team was sitting starters Robert Quinn and Chris Long.
After the game, Michael Sam said he is confident with his performance and believes he’s done what it takes to make the final roster.
“You know what, it’s not going to be like the draft,” Sam said. “I’m very confident that I’m going to sleep really well tonight and I’m very confident I’m going to be on a team, the Rams or any other team in the NFL.”
Sam had a strong preseason, ending with 11 tackles and three sacks. Rams coach Jeff Fisher has already offered his endorsement of the former Missouri star.
“I believe he can play in this league,” Fisher said.
But Sam has a difficult battle. The Rams have one of the best defensive lines in football, and the room behind Quinn and Long is tight. Sam has also been playing a bit of special teams in the preseason, though Fisher said he will be judged solely on his defensive abilities.
With the prospect of becoming the league’s first openly gay player, Michael Sam has seen considerably more attention than the typical seventh-round draft pick. This week ESPN aired a report on Sam, with the brief segment delving into Sam’s showering habits.
Reporter Josina Anderson brought up the idea of whether Sam showered with his teammates. She spoke to one plaer who said anonymously that Sam appeared to be “respecting our space,” and that he “is kind of waiting to take a shower, as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable.”
The St. Louis Rams now have until Saturday at 4 p.m. ET to decide the fate of Michael Sam. That is the deadline for teams to trim rosters from 75 to 53 players.