*Updated with quotes from Michael Sam.
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett announced Wednesday the addition of Michael Sam to the team’s practice squad.
“We feel like he has a chance to come in at a position that we’ve tried to address throughout the offseason, throughout training camp and compete for a spot,” Garrett said of Sam.
Sam is not able to compete in games unless the Cowboys move him from the 10-man practice squad to the active 53-man roster. The Cowboys open the season Sunday by hosting the San Francisco 49ers.
“We’re bringing a player in who we want to see on the practice field,” Garrett said. “We got nothing but good reports from our people and people in St. Louis. We just want to give him a chance to come in and see if he can help our football team.”
Sam will make $6,300 per week on the practice squad, according to Robert Raiola, a CPA who specializes in sports. The former Missouri all-American defensive end is trying to become the first openly gay player to make an NFL roster.
After Wednesday's practice, Sam spoke to a large contingent of media while wearing a grey Cowboys T-shirt.
"It feels good to be a Cowboy," Sam said. "I’m very grateful of (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones and the Dallas organization."
Sam spent the preseason with the St. Louis Rams and recorded three sacks and 10 solo tackles in four preseason games.
“His track record speaks for itself,” Garrett said. “One of the things he got caught up in St. Louis is that they have a really good defensive line. They’ve allocated a lot of resources to that in recent years. Our reports are that he played fairly well. … We are just trying to help our team get better.”
In addition to putting Sam on the practice squad, Garrett announced at the beginning of his press conference that Cowboys rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence was being placed on the injured reserve list. The Cowboys also have defensive ends Anthony Spencer and George Selvie out with injuries.
"I’m hungry to be on the team and help the team win, and I’m sure Dallas wants to win as well," Sam said.
Garrett became agitated Wednesday morning with the entire first five minutes of his press conference being questions about Sam.
He said, “I think we got to be careful about spending too much time on practice roster player.” Then he started his answer to the following question about Sam by saying, “I think we’ve probably talked too much about all that.”
But prior to those questions, Garrett disregarded a question about the Cowboys accepting a gay player.
“Our attention and focus is on football. It’s on getting ready for the 49ers,” Garrett said. “That’s the culture that we have around here. That’s the culture we’ll continue to have.”
Supervising editor is Greg Bowers.