Michael Sam has cleared waivers after being cut by the St. Louis Rams, allowing the defensive end to sign with an NFL team’s practice squad.
The former Missouri standout is trying to become the first openly gay player to make an NFL roster. Despite a strong preseason, Sam was unable to make headway on a roster stacked at the defensive line. Ultimately, he was beat out by undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks, who took the ninth and final defensive lineman spot on the team.
After being cut, Michael Sam tweeted his thanks to the St. Louis Rams organization and vowed to keep on, saying he looks “forward to continuing to build on the progress I made here toward a long and successful career.”
Rams coach Jeff Fisher noted that it was an uphill battle for Sam to make the team’s roster.
“The practice squad is heavily dependent on what you do in other positions,” Fisher said. “We’ve got, for example, it’s well noted that [CB] Trumaine [Johnson] is going to be down for a few weeks, [C/G] Barrett [Jones] is going to be down for a few weeks. We may have to go heavy in the other positions. If you’re familiar with our roster right now, we’ve got five linebackers, for example; we need linebackers on the practice squad. I’m not going to go into what his odds are or what those opportunities are until we sift through things tomorrow.”
Going into Saturday’s deadline, Sam had been confident about his chances. In the final preseason game, he notched a team-high five tackles, and throughout the preseason was able to get to the quarterback.
“I did good,” Sam said of the preseason finale. “I give myself a B-plus. I’m very proud of myself, like I said, of how I fought the run.”
“You know what, it’s not going to be like the draft,” he continued. “I’m very confident that I’m going to sleep really well tonight and I’m very confident that I’m going to be on a team, the Rams or any other team in the NFL.”
Michael Sam is now eligible to sign on an NFL practice squad, and it is likely he will. Many NFL pundits believe his performance was worthy of being on a full NFL roster.