The St. Louis Rams have cut Michael Sam, the first openly gay player selected in the NFL draft.
According to ESPN, Sam was battling un-drafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks for a final roster spot. Westbrook was one of the nine defensive linemen to make the team.
In an effort to trim the team to the required 53-men, Rams coach Jeff Fisher says the decision was purely about football, “…I was pulling for Mike…he came in here and did everything we asked him to do. There will be no challenge [for whatever team picks up Sam].”
In a show of true sportsmanship, Sam released a series of tweets thanking the team for the opportunity, “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 news has been met with support and kudos for Sam. Jason Collins of the Brooklyn Nets tweeted his support saying, “Sometimes in life you have to take the long road to get to your destination. @MichaelSamNFL can & will help a @nfl team win games #workhard.”
Sam is officially available to be picked up for a practice squad. NFL teams have until noon Sunday to put a claim in for him, if he goes unclaimed he will be free to sign with a practice squad. A league source says that the Rams may want to bring him back under their 10-man practice team, Fisher says that decision will be affected by the needs of the team.
Despite the decision, Sam is keeping things in perspective, “The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I’ve always known. The journey continues,” he said.