When the pro football season opener kicks off Michael Sam won’t be on the field. The St. Louis Rams have cut Sam, the first openly gay athlete drafted into the NFL, ending the rookie defensive lineman NFL hopes of setting milestone. Sam failed to make the 53-man roster but could still be signed to the club’s 10-man practice squad, according to multiple reports.
“The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I’ve always known. The journey continues,” Sam posted on Twitter.
In another Tweet he wrote thanks Rams Coach Jeff Fisher “for giving me this tremendous opportunity and allowing me to show I can play at this level. I look forward to continuing to build on the progress I made here toward a long and successful career.”
Fisher said Saturday in a news conference to announce the final roster trims, “It was a football decision and it was no different than any other decision that we make. It was a football decision back in May to draft Mike. And once again, it’s been about football.”
The Rams opted to keep nine defensive linemen, awarding the final spot to undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks, former NCAA Division II defensive player of the year at West Texas A&M.
According to NFL rules, a released player cannot be re-signed to that club’s practice squad until he has been exposed to waivers – made available to the 31 other teams – for 24 hours.
Fisher declined to say whether the team would sign Sam to the practice squad were he available.