The Dallas Cowboys have released rookie defensive end Michael Sam from their practice squad. The first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team was cut Tuesday to make room for linebacker Troy Davis, the team said.
“I want to thank the Jones family and the entire Cowboys organization for this opportunity, as well as my friends, family, teammates and fans for their support,” Sam wrote on Twitter. “While this is disappointing, I will take the lessons I learned here in Dallas and continue to fight for an opportunity to prove that I can play every Sunday.”
Sam was unable to earn a spot on the Cowboys’ 53-man roster and never dressed for a regular season game. He was paid $6,300 a week during his time on the practice squad, ESPN notes.
“Comes to work every day and practices hard,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said last week in praise of Sam. “[He's] one of 10 practice roster guys that we have, so he’s working on his skills, trying to develop, but also doing a lot of other things. Playing offense, defense, playing the kicking game, that’s what a lot of those guys do.”
The Cowboys signed Sam Sept. 3 after the St. Louis Rams released him as part of their final roster cuts ahead of the 2014 NFL regular season. Sam’s bid to make the Rams’ roster was subjected to intense scrutiny this summer, with pundits dissecting everything from his on-field performance to his shower habits.
The Rams selected Sam in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He enjoyed a standout college career at the University of Missouri, where he was named the Southeastern Conference’s co-defensive player of the year in 2013.
Sam announced he was gay in February in a video posted to the New York Times’ website. “I’m Michael Sam. I’m a football player and I’m gay,” he said in the video. “I just want to own my truth before anyone breaks a story about me.”