Michael Sam was released by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday afternoon, at the NFL's deadline for roster cuts. And he's not coming back either, not even on the Rams' practice squad.
Michael Sam won't be signed to the Rams practice squad, per source. St. Louis using those spots to back up areas without depth.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 1, 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.
Head coach Jeff Fisher said Saturday, after releasing Sam, that whatever team picks him up is getting a good football player and no distractions.
"There will be no challenges, no challenges whatsoever," Fisher said. "He's not about drawing attention to himself. He kept his head down and he worked, and you can't ask anything more out of any player for that matter. But there's no challenges with respect to Mike Sam and the second opportunity that lies ahead."
But no other team signed him either.
The names on the Rams practice squad haven't been released yet. A few have been reported. Those six players include: OL Brandon Washington, OT Sean Hooey, WR Justin Veltung, DT Matt Conrath, LB Kevin Reddick, S Matt Daniels. The offensive line depth is definitely a need, not that either one of those guys is a game-changer. They only kept five linebackers -- they kept six last year -- so the one linebacker makes some sense. Stedman Bailey's suspension leaves them light. The other two are head scratchers. Conrath got some playing time last year. It seems like Daniels has been around forever, and he's constantly hurt.
We'll see how the other four spots on the practice squad shake out and how they match up with the Rams depth needs.
The news comes as a surprise. The story during the roster cuts process had Sam and the Rams likely to unite again. Peter King talked up that possibility last week.
Can confirm that in fact the Rams did release Michael Sam. He could well end up on their practice squad. ESPN had the news first— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) August 30, 2014
There are still open practice squad spots around the NFL (or unreported at least), so it's not over yet. Still, it's strange to see a talented player, albeit one whose ability is pretty raw, not even on an NFL practice squad. We'll see how it plays out.