Rams cut Michael Sam, 1st drafted openly gay player
St. Louis • The St. Louis Rams have cut Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.
The seventh-round 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 still has a chance to get picked up by another team or to make the Rams’ practice squad.
"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."
On Twitter, roughly an hour after he was cut, Sam wrote "The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I’ve always known. The journey continues."
He also thanked the Rams and city of St. Louis on Twitter, adding that he looks forward to a long and successful career.
Earlier Saturday, he attended Missouri’s opener in Columbia, a 1 1/2-hour drive west on I-70 from Rams Park. He was introduced to the crowd in the end zone alongside defensive end E.J. Gaines, a sixth-round pick who made the team. Sam blew a kiss and waved to the crowd, then walked back to the sideline. He posed for a few pictures then started looking at his phone and headed for the locker room.
The Rams selected Sam, the SEC co-defensive player of the year at Missouri, with the 249th overall pick out of 256 overall. He kissed his boyfriend as a national television audience looked on, and arrived brimming with confidence and with a quick retort for anyone who contended he was in the NFL only because he came out.
Week 1 schedule
» Green Bay at Seattle, 6:30 p.m., NFL Network
Sunday, Sept. 7
Minnesota at St. Louis, 11 a.m.
Buffalo at Chicago, 11 a.m.
Washington at Houston, 11 a.m.
Tennessee at Kansas City, 11 a.m.
New Orleans at Atlanta, 11 a.m.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 11 a.m.
» Jacksonville at Philadelphia, 11 a.m.
Oakland at N.Y. Jets, 11 a.m.
Cincinnati at Baltimore, 11 a.m.
New England at Miami, 11 a.m.
San Francisco at Dallas, 2:25 p.m.
Carolina at Tampa Bay, 2:25 p.m.
Indianapolis at Denver, 6:30 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 8
N.Y. Giants at Detroit, 5:10 p.m.
San Diego at Arizona, 8:20 p.m.