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

3 hours ago in Sports

NFL bars violent offenders from rookie scouting combine

nfl

The National Football League has decided individuals who have convictions for domestic violence, sexual assault or weapon offenses will no longer be allowed to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine.

9 hours ago in National

Gov’t report: 8 states had significant drop in uninsured

obamacare

They are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and New York. Politically, that's a mix of red, blue and purple states.

10 hours ago in Sports

Party like it’s 1999: Denver to celebrate another Super Bowl

Denver Broncos’ head coach Gary Kubiak, right, reacts after getting soaked with a sports drink by Von Miller (58) after their win against the Carolina Panthers in the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Broncos won 24-10. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Denver Broncos will board fire trucks and roll slowly through the crowd-lined streets of the Mile High City to celebrate winning the Super Bowl.

10 hours ago in Entertainment, Sports

Super Bowl fans bet record $132.5 million at Nevada casinos

Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning, center right, holds the trophy after the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Broncos won 24-10.  (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Denver were a 5-1/2-point underdog to top-seeded Carolina ahead of Sunday's game in Santa Clara, California, but used a ferocious defense to pull out a 24-10 victory.

10 hours ago in Sports

Nearly 112 million watch Super Bowl 50 on TV, below record

Members of the Denver Broncos hold the trophy after the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Broncos won 24-10. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Super Bowl 50 was the third most-watched Super Bowl in U.S. history with 111.9 million Americans watching the game on television, ratings data showed.