Michael Sam Says He Will Give NFL Return 'One More Shot'

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2016

Mar 22, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Defensive end Michael Sam (11) heads to the field prior to participating in drills during the NFL Veteran Combine at the Arizona Cardinals training facility. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam isn't done with the NFL just yet. Responding to a Twitter question from a fan, Sam said Wednesday he will give realizing his professional football dreams "one more shot."

Sam, 26, has never played in an NFL game. He spent the 2014 season splitting time between the St. Louis Rams' and Dallas Cowboys' practice squads before being released to free up roster space. The Montreal Alouettes of the CFL signed him to a two-year deal last May, but he appeared in only one game, leaving the team twice for off-field issues. He did not return after leaving for the second time in August.

“I never really wanted to go to the CFL, but I did it and I committed to going,” Sam told The Dan Patrick Show in September (h/t Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk). “I want to thank the Montreal Alouettes for all they’ve done for me, but I wasn’t getting better as a football player. That was one of the main keys, I wasn’t getting better as a football player. It was a different defense, a defense I wasn’t used to, and all the stuff I learned from the Rams, the Cowboys, I thought I was losing that technique in Montreal.”

Sam spent the 2015 NFL season out of football. He has made few public appearances since his disappointing departure from Montreal, fading from the spotlight after having been one of the world's most visible athletes in 2014.   

A unanimous All-American selection in 2013, Sam came out as gay in an interview with ESPN's Chris Connelly on Outside the Lines in 2014. Expected to be a mid-round draft pick, the attention surrounding his announcement shrouded the draft process. He wound up slipping all the way to the No. 249 pick with St. Louis, where he had to compete for a spot on one of the deepest defensive line rotations in football.

While the Cowboys situation was a little better from a football perspective, the necessity to activate players eligible to return forced Dallas' hand as it competed for an NFC East championship. 

At this point, it's unclear what Sam can bring to the NFL. His performance at the 2015 NFL Veteran Combine was by all accounts underwhelming, as the undersized Sam (6'2", 260 lbs) ran a 4.99-second 40-yard dash and failed to garner much more than cursory interest from teams.


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