Michael Sam, the first openly gay football player drafted to the NFL, was cut by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday.
The move came as teams in the league reduced their roster to 53 players.
In May, Sam was drafted at the end of the seventh round despite being named a co-defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference his senior year at the University of Missouri. He was taken with the 249th pick out of 256 players drafted.
He gave a mediocre performance at the scouting combine, which some said contributed to his low draft position.
Rams Coach Jeff Fisher said Sam would be treated like every other player hoping to make the team. But Sam also attracted a lot of attention. He canceled a planned reality show soon after it was announced.
“I will tell you this: I was pulling for Mike, I really was,” Fisher said Saturday in a news conference. “And I don’t say that very often. Mike came in here and did everything we asked him to do.”
He added: “It was a football decision, and the decision is no different than any other decision that we make. It was a football decision. It was a football decision back in May to draft Mike.”
Sam, who performed decently during the preseason, can still make the Rams’ practice squad. He had 11 tackles and three sacks during the preseason. In the last preseason game Sam led the team with the most tackles.
Sam took to Twitter to thank the Rams for drafting him, for “allowing me to show I can play at this level.” He wrote that he looked forward to building on the progress made “toward a long and successful career.”
“The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I’ve always known,” Sam wrote. “The journey continues.”
What do you think of the cut?
Will Michael Sam have a future in the NFL?
Sound off below!