Michael Sam Cut by St. Louis Rams, Delaying Quest to Be First Openly Gay Player in NFL

The talented defensive player was placed on waivers Saturday but there are still 31 teams who could use him

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[Update 4 p.m. PT: Hours after being cut by the St. Louis Rams, Michael Sam took to Twitter with a positive attitude to respond to the news over a series of three tweets. “I want to thank the entire Rams organization and the city of St. Louis 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. The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I’ve always known. The journey continues.”]

Michael Sam, who is the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, has been cut from the St. Louis Rams before the start of the regular season, reports ESPN.

Sam had been competing against undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks for a spot on the Rams’ 53-man roster and felt extremely confident about his chances of making the team heading into the final round of cuts.

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Alas, the Rams were forced to make a tough decision and opted to put Sam on waivers. Westbrooks is now one of nine defensive lineman to make the final roster.

Sam had six tackles in the Rams’ last preseason game, which was more than anyone else on the team. However, to be fair to the Rams, the team does have a decent defensive line, and sports pundits have suggested that Sam might be cut if he was unable to carve out a place for himself on special teams.

While the Rams’ decision certainly marks a setback in Sam’s quest to be the first openly gay player to play in the NFL, there are still 31 other teams who could pick him up off waivers, and many in the media expect him to land on his feet soon.

Also read: Michael Sam Gives Emotional Speech After Receiving Arthur Ashe Courage Award at ESPYs (Video)

Sam officially hit waivers on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, and the rest of the teams in the league will have 24 hours to put in a claim for the hard-working defensive player.

The Rams have expressed interest in having Sam return to their 10-man practice squad, but Sam is not expected to settle for that last resort.

Sam was drafted with the 249th overall pick in the seventh round of the NFL draft. He had three sacks this preseason to go alone with 11 total tackles.