Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL, was cut on Saturday by the St. Louis Rams.
The 7th-round draft pick has been outspoken and confident as his progress was watched as closely as any rookie in the league. He has been cheered by athletes and celebrities. In the end, the defensive end couldn’t make a team stocked with pass-rushers.
Sam, a defensive end who can rush the passer, made a strong case for a roster spot in the preseason. He had 11 tackles and three sacks, including a team-leading six tackles in the Rams’ 14-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night.
“There will be no challenge, no challenges whatsoever,” for whatever team picks up Sam, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said at a news conference.
“There’s no challenge with respect to Mike Sam,” Fisher said. “He’s not about drawing attention to himself. He kept his head down and worked and you can’t ask anything more out of any player for that matter.”
Sam can be picked up by another team or make the Rams’ practice squad.
The Dallas Cowboys could look at Sam as a candidate to boost their pass rush.
Sam wasn’t in the Cowboys’ draft plans. They didn’t pursue him in the draft and didn’t have him ranked high on their draft board. Also, the Cowboys don’t view Sam as a good scheme fit for them. The Cowboys want speedy defensive ends. Also, Sam is more of a left defensive end, and the Cowboys have more of a need at right defensive end with rookie DeMarcus Lawrence expected to miss the first half of the season and Anthony Spencer not expected to play the first few weeks.
Still, a Cowboys defense that finished last in the NFL a year ago did nothing in the preseason that should inspire confidence.
The Cowboys allowed 116 points in their four preseason losses after allowing 93 points in five preseason games a year ago. The 116 points tied for the second-most allowed through four preseason games in club history.
And their prime pass rusher was hurt. Defensive tackle Henry Melton – the Cowboys’ biggest free agent addition of the offseason – didn’t play a snap in any preseason game as he battled a strained groin and continued to recover from surgery to repair a torn left anterior cruciate ligament.
My take? Jerry should draft this guy. The defense needs him. This guy is a workaholic.