The St. Louis Rams made history on draft day when they made Missouri defensive end Michael Sam the first openly gay player on an NFL roster. Now, another team will get the chance to make history after the Rams released Sam on Saturday afternoon, at of the NFL's deadline to cut rosters down to 53-players the week before the regular season begins.
League source confirms: #Rams released DE Michael Sam.— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) August 30, 2014
Sam made a strong case to be on the Rams final roster throughout training camp and the preseason. He led the team with six total tackles in the exhibition finale in Miami. Overall, he finished the preseason with an official total of 11 tackles (10 solo), three sacks and five quarterback hits. His three sacks led the team, according to the stats from NFL Game Statistics and Information Systems.
It was a longshot for Sam when the Rams drafted him in the seventh round this year. St. Louis is loaded with defensive linemen, and there was only going to be one, two at most, roster spots open up front. Undrafted rookie pass rusher Ethan Westbrooks made an even stronger case than Sam, harassing quarterbacks more frequently and leaving many to wonder how 32 teams missed the West Texas A&M product in the draft.
The Rams could sign Sam to the practice squad, but he'll have to clear waivers for that to happen. That seems unlikely. Too many teams are in need of pass rushing help, and won't be hesitant to take a flyer on Sam, who was voted the SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year last season at Mizzou.