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.
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.
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.