Outsports is reporting that Michael Sam, 7th round draft pick and SEC Defensive Player of the Year hoping to become the first gay man to make an NFL regular season roster, has been released by the St. Louis Rams.
The next 24 hours will determine Sam's immediate NFL fate. The other 31 NFL teams can put in a claim for his services and Sam would go to the team that claimed him first. If Sam is unclaimed, there is a strong chance he will be signed as one of 10 practice squad players by the Rams.
If that happens, Sam can practice with the Rams but not play in a game. For that to happen, he will have to be placed on the active 53-man roster, something that can occur, for example, with injuries to other players. Practice squad players earn a minimum $6,300 per week they are on the team. This amounts to $107,100 if he lasts all 17 regular season weeks on the squad. Had Sam made the Rams roster, he would have earned $420,000 this season. He gets to keep the $45,000 signing bonus he was given after the draft.
It would appear the decision came down to a choice between Sam and undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks. Westbrooks is one of nine defensive linemen to land a roster spot.
Throughout the preseason Sam has shown he has the skill and determination to play in the NFL. Dropping 13 pounds prior to camp, he upped his speed. And his stats warrant a spot in the league: in four preseason games, Sam stacked up 10.5 tackles and three sacks in the preseason, including two sacks of Johnny Manziel last weekend.
I think it's clear both on and off the field, Sam has shown tremendous poise, confidence and talent. The LGBT community can feel proud that Sam has handled himself so ably.
Here's hoping we have good news in the next 24 hours.
Go Michael Sam!