With the 249th overall pick in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams select Michael Sam. Those were the words that we all heard including Sam. Sam was overcome by his emotions as his dreams to play in the NFL came true.
When he was drafted, he became the first openly gay player to be drafted in NFL history. This is a breakthrough in history and nothing to sneeze at. We all remember the announcement he made back in February saying that he was gay. It sent shockwaves around the sports world and country. When I had heard the news, it made me proud because it showed that America and this world are starting to progress with acceptance slowly.
With Sam being a seventh round draft pick, he knew it would be an uphill battle to climb as the Rams were already stacked on the defensive line with stars such as Robert Quinn and Chris Long but that did not stop him. In fact, he played pretty well for getting third team snaps in the preseason. As a defensive end which is his natural position that he played at Missouri, he had 11 tackles and 3.0 sacks, this was just in the preseason.
Despite, Sam playing well in the preseason there was still a mountain to climb which was special teams because he was not a special teams player. He is a pass rushing defensive end that is perfect on down and distance. During the scouting combine, he worked out as an outside linebacker which might have dropped his draft stock because it was not his natural fit, defensive end is.
With Sam playing well during the preseason, the media attention was still there and people were wondering why were they giving a seventh round pick this much attention. Some of the attention was unwarranted especially when ESPN did a report on Sam's showering habits. First of all, what does that have to do with playing football and secondly why is this a story. He is just a football player like anybody else and wants to be treated as such.
When the report came down, his teammate Chris Long was not a big fan of it and posted his response on Twitter saying, "Dear ESPN, Everyone but you is over it." Long doing this showed good team leadership but also that he is just one of the guys and no one is singling him out for it.
ESPN then issued an apology saying, "ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report. Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports." Let's all learn from ESPN's miscalculated mistake when it comes to reporting what is news.
Then, August 30 came around and that was the day where NFL rosters had to be cut down to 53 players. Sam would last until the 4 p.m. ET deadline where he would be the final cut as defensive end Ethan Westbrooks made the team. Westbrooks has an interesting story too, which you should check out.
Rams head coach Jeff Fisher let it be known to the media that Sam being cut was a football decision. "This was a football decision. Mike fit in very well. Fun to be around, a good teammate. There was no issue there." Fisher continued by saying, "Mike played well, and he has the ability to play some place. It has to be right place, has to be a fit."
Just maybe Sam has found the right place where he can possibly play right away and that's the Dallas Cowboys. On Wednesday, the Cowboys signed Michael Sam to the practice squad and he can help them immediately as their defense was horrid and still is this season.
Sam is excited about joining the Cowboys and said that it was his dream to play for the franchise as a kid growing up in Texas. When you ask the Cowboys veterans about Sam, they see him just as one of the guys. It was the same notion in St. Louis.
Sam will start on the practice squad but best believe if an injury happens he will be on the 53-man roster. As a team last season, the Cowboys' defense allowed 286.8 passing yards and 128.5 rushing yards per game. Now I'm not saying that just with Sam alone he can bring those numbers down but him playing can energize the defense to play better. Maybe he can help them out with sacks also as they only had 34.
It will be interesting to see where Michael Sam's journey takes him next. He has the opportunity and chance of a lifetime to make the Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster. Can he do it? I think he can and don't be surprised to him playing in a game this season.