If Michael Sam is going to be the first out gay player to play in the NFL, it probably won't be with the St. Louis Rams.
Coach Jeff Fisher called Sam last weekend and met with him Sunday to tell him he's one of four players cut from the Rams' 53-player roster.
"It was a football decision just like it was a football decision back in May to draft Mike," Fisher tells Yahoo Sports. "It's been all about football. I was pulling for Mike; I really was. I don't say that very often."
Immediately after being cut from the roster, Sam had two options: sign to the Rams practice squad or join another team, either as a waiver pick or a free agent. But by the time the Rams filled the practice squad Sunday night, it was clear none of the ten players would be Sam.
That the Rams didn't sign Sam to the practice squad doesn't come as much of a surprise. The team is already stacked with defensive ends, Sam's position, on the active roster, and the team only signed one defensive lineman to its backup practice squad.Update, 3:45 p.m.: Looks like Sam could be on his way to Dallas.
So far, no other NFL team has claimed Sam. That means he's a free agent, looking for a new home alongside many other players in football limbo.
To be clear, Dallas would like to sign Michael Sam to practice squad, not active roster. First things first. Physical Wednesday.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 2, 2014
Fisher says Sam was never a "distraction" for the team despite his history-making launch into the NFL. But Buffalo Bills player Eric Wood says he thinks that's why other teams aren't picking Sam up:
Michael Sam has not been told of any teams that claimed him on waivers. Appears he went unclaimed. Now free to sign with a practice squad.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 31, 2014
@RossTuckerNFL blame that on espn. No one wants the distraction— Eric Wood (@EWood70) August 31, 2014
The fat lady hasn't sung on Sam's NFL prospects yet, and Sam, a seventh-round draft pick who had an impressive three sacks during the preseason, says his goal to be the first openly gay player competing on an NFL gridiron hasn't changed.
"I'm very confident that I'll be playing on a NFL roster this fall," said Sam to the Associated Press.