Michael Sam made big headlines last year when he came out as openly gay, which made him the first active player to be openly gay. Of course, Sam wasn't yet on an NFL roster, but he was the defensive player of the year in a college conference known for defense — the SEC.
Sam was drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams, but cut after the preseason. He was then signed to the Cowboys practice squad, where he spent seven weeks before he was cut in October.
Now, Sam is trying to get on another roster and spoke with Peter King for his Monday Morning Quarterback column recently. Sam recalled his time in Dallas, and said he doesn't believe his sexual orientation is the reason he isn't on a roster.
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The life of a practice squad player is tough. You’re expected to learn not only your team’s playbook, but the opposing squad’s as well, every week. I put my head down and worked hard for the Cowboys, doing everything I was asked and even at times playing offense in practices to simulate opposing teams’ formations.
Having not had the benefit of spending all training camp with the Cowboys, I thought my arrival might be tough, but once again I found a welcoming locker room full of guys who respected me and treated me as part of the team. I learned a lot in Dallas from some of the best in the NFL, such as All-Pro tight end Jason Witten, who used his years of experience blocking pass rushers to teach me some tips on how to get to the quarterback faster.
Sam is currently working out in McKinney at the Michael Johnson Performance Center with hopes of making a roster for the upcoming season.