News

Cowboys sign DE Michael Sam to practice squad

Cowboys sign DE Michael Sam to practice squad

SAM SIGNED: allas Cowboys practice squad player defensive end Michael Sam (46) looks around the field during team practice Wednesday, Sept. 3, in Irving, Texas. Photo: Associated Press/LM Otero

DALLAS (Reuters) – Defensive end Michael Sam, hoping to become the first openly gay athlete to play in a regular season game in the National Football League (NFL), was signed Wednesday to the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad, the team said.

Coach Jason Garrett told a news conference the rookie from Missouri would be a member of the 10-man practice squad. Sam was cut last week by the St. Louis Rams, who had drafted him in the seventh and final round of the NFL draft in May.

“We have had nothing but good reports about him from our people and people in St. Louis,” Garrett said. “We just want to give him a chance to come in and see if he can help our football team.”

The 6-feet-2, 260-pound Sam became the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL draft.

But despite his success at Missouri, talent evaluators have said Sam might struggle in the NFL – perhaps too small to play regularly on the defensive line and not athletic enough to play as a linebacker.

“He was a very good player in college. His track record speaks for itself,” Garrett said.

Each NFL team has a 10-member practice squad that helps them prepare for games. When teams face injuries, they often look to practice squad players to fill out their game-day rosters as short-term help.

Sam, a Texas native, could prove to be a useful backup for the Cowboys because of their 4-3 scheme and a desperate need for help on defense, which was the bottom-ranked unit in the NFL in the 2013 season.

There is currently only one openly gay player in North America’s four major professional sports leagues – Jason Collins, who joined the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets last season.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin; Editing by Bill Trott)

Recent Headlines

in National, World

Climate plan shows U.S. ‘can change the world’

23-overlay1

The plan, which also mandates a shift to renewable energy from coal-fired electricity, is meant to put the U.S. in a strong position at international talks in Paris later this year on reaching a deal to curb global warming.

in Sports

After death of 9-year-old, no more bat boys and girls

13-overlay2

The National Baseball Congress is suspending the use of bat boys and girls during its World Series in Kansas following the death of a 9-year-old boy who was hit by a bat.

in Sports

WATCH: WWE salutes the late ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper

12-overlay1

One of the most iconic wrestlers in the history of the WWE died last week at the age of 61.

in National

More fights ahead on Planned Parenthood after Senate vote

12-overlay

Now that the Senate has derailed Republican legislation halting federal dollars for Planned Parenthood, one thing seems clear: Many on both sides think they can ring up gains from the battle.

in Sports

Stanley Cup winner Schneider new Hall of Famer

nhl

Stanley Cup winner Mathieu Schneider is among four new inductees to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.