Michael Sam's goal in becoming the first openly gay athlete to play in the NFL took a major hit last weekend when the the St. Louis Rams decided to release him. Now Sam's dream is still alive as the Dallas Cowboys announced on Wednesday that they have signed the defensive end to their practice squad.
The Cowboys signed Michael Sam to their practice squad, coach Jason Garrett announced in his weekly news conference.— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) September 3, 2014
With the Cowboys having a major need for a pass rusher, the Cowboys would be wise to add Sam to their 53-man roster.
On Tuesday, the Cowboys announced that defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, the team's 2014 second round pick was placed on injured reserve with a designation to return. That means Lawrence who is still recovering from a broken foot suffered during training camp, must sit out the first eight games of the season.
Defensive end George Selvie, who finished with seven sacks last season, could miss the Cowboys' opener against the San Francisco 49ers with a shoulder injury. If Selvie is out Week 1, there isn't another Dallas lineman that recorded more than two sacks last season.
Sam should be placed on the Cowboys roster because he has good quickness to get past offensive tackles and he can apply pressure on the quarterback. As a senior at Missouri last season, Sam recorded 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. After the season, Sam was named SEC co-defensive player of the year and was also a first-team All-American.
One reason for #Cowboys to sign Michael Sam? They're the only team whose merchandise revenue is excluded from the $ pool shared with players— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) September 3, 2014
Yes Sam will help with the Cowboys sell more jerseys, but that's not why owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett decided to make this move.
After giving up the most yards in the NFL last season, the Cowboys defense, especially its defensive line has major question marks. That's why Sam's ability to get to rush the quarterback and make tackles for loss would help the Cowboys immediately.
"This is about football. We evaluated him as a football player. Our focus is on football." Jason Garrett on Michael Sam. #Cowboys— FOX Sports NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 3, 2014
Jason Garrett on Michael Sam: “We bring in a player we want to see on a practice field, we have nothing but good reports on him.”— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 3, 2014
Sam will need a few weeks to adjust to the Cowboys defensive system, so don't expect to see him against the 49ers on Sunday. If he does play anytime soon, you can expect the Cowboys to use him more on third down situations.
While most have focused on his sexual orientation, Sam showed during the preseason that there's a place for him in the NFL. While the perfect fit wasn't in St. Louis, he definitely fits in well with the Cowboys.