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Michael Sam left off Rams' practice squad

Monday, September 1, 2014 | 9:32 p.m. CDT; updated 10:25 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 1, 2014
Former Missouri player Michael Sam watches pregame festivities before the start of the South Dakota State vs. Missouri football game Saturday in Columbia. The St. Louis Rams cut Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

COLUMBIA — Michael Sam remains a man without a team.

The St. Louis Rams announced their 10-man practice squad Monday afternoon, and the former Missouri all-American defensive lineman was not included. The Rams practice squad includes one defensive lineman, Matt Conrath, a 6-foot-7 defensive tackle from Virginia.

As of Monday night, 20 of the 32 NFL teams had full 10-man practice squads. The 12 teams without full practice squads are Arizona, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, Jacksonville, Kansas City, the New York Giants, the New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Tennessee.

Sam and his agent Cameron Weiss did not respond to requests for comment. Sam received national attention for being the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL and to play in an NFL preseason game.

Greg DeStephen was Missouri's first openly gay athlete and an NCAA all-American diver from 2006 to 2010. He and Sam became friends while at Missouri.

"I'm disappointed to hear of Michael being cut from the Rams," DeStephen told the Missourian. "I hope that he'll be fortunate enough to have another opportunity to prove his talent and represent Mizzou in the NFL in the future."

Sam's NFL opportunities may be dwindling, but NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport said Sam has a place to play in the Canadian Football League. Rapoport reported that the Montreal Alouettes have the rights to sign Sam and have reached out to the 6-foot-2 defensive end.

The CFL season spans from late June to early November, and Montreal is currently 2-7 this year.

Whether Sam gets a chance to play in the NFL, Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell said at his Monday press conference that he thinks football and not Sam's sexuality is keeping him from making an NFL roster or practice squad.

"I doubt that seriously," Caldwell said of Sam's sexuality alienating him.

Caldwell said he could see a team adding Sam, maybe even before the NFL season opens Thursday.

"He wasn’t here on our squad, we didn’t play against them (the Rams) to have an opportunity to look at them,” Caldwell said. “But what I would assume is the case is the fact that he doesn’t fit in with whomever’s system, or anybody’s system right now in terms of being able to come in and play for them at this point in time. If he could, if it benefits someone, and he still may. A lot of things happen here in the next three or four days, anyway. But he still may, he may still get that opportunity.”

Supervising editor is Eliza Smith.


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