Sam stays upbeat despite losing spot with St Louis
MICHAEL Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by the National Football League (NFL), was cut from the St Louis Rams on Saturday. But he said he is confident he will have another shot at making a professional football roster this season.
He was released by the Rams as NFL teams make their final cuts before the season begins on Thursday. Still, he was optimistic in remarks made on Twitter that he will still have a chance to play for the NFL this year.
"The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I've always known. The journey continues," he wrote.
He thanked the Rams organisation for "allowing me to show I can play at this level" and said he looks forward to "continuing to build on the progress I made here towards a long and successful career".
All NFL teams had to reach the 53-man NFL limit by Saturday, ahead of this week's season openers, and the 24-year-old defensive end's fate came down to the Rams having too much talent on the defensive line.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher said: "This was a football decision."
Other NFL teams have 24 hours to claim Sam's rights or he will become a free agent and be available to sign with any club.
He could also become part of a team's 10-man practice squad, players who only train with the team who could potentially replace injured players on the active roster.
Fisher said any club interested in Sam should not be concerned about potential distractions because he is gay, saying there were none during his time with the Rams.
Extra attention outside the team included an ESPN mention of showering habits involving Sam, a report Fisher blasted as unfair.
"He's not about drawing attention to himself," the coach said.
"He kept his head down and he worked. You can't ask anything more out of any player. There's no challenge with respect to Mike Sam and the second opportunity that lies ahead."
Should that chance come, Sam would follow in the history-making footsteps of football's Robbie Rogers and the National Basketball Association's Jason Collins.
Collins made history six months ago as the first openly gay man in one of the four major American sports leagues when he played for the Brooklyn Nets.
Rogers became the first openly gay man to play in a United States sports league when he took the field for the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer in May last year.