Michael Sam -- hoping to be the NFL's first openly gay player -- is set to join the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad, per multiple reports.
Michael Sam is about to join the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad.
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According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Cowboys will bring in Sam -- who hopes to become the NFL's first openly gay player -- for a physical on Wednesday. Once he passes his physical, Dallas will sign him to its practice squad:
"Michael Sam is flying to Dallas on Tuesday night and will take a physical for the Cowboys on Wednesday, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
"If Sam passes his physical, the Cowboys intend to sign him to their practice squad, the source said.
"Sam, who is seeking to become the first openly gay athlete to play in the NFL, was cut by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday.
"The Rams spent a seventh-round draft pick, No. 249 overall, on Sam in May's draft. He put together a solid preseason performance, coming up with 11 tackles and three sacks. In Thursday night's preseason finale against Miami, Sam finished his preseason work with a team-high six tackles.
"Sam cleared waivers Sunday and is free to sign with any team.
"The Rams finalized their 10-player practice squad on Monday, and it did not include Sam.
"Coach Jeff Fisher had suggested that a lack of bodies at positions with little depth could leave the defensive end on the outside looking in when the team added to that unit.
"The Cowboys announced Tuesday that rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, their second-round pick, has been placed on injured reserve with a designated to return tag. That means Lawrence, who is recovering from surgery to repair a broken foot suffered early in training camp, is ineligible to practice for six weeks and must sit out the first eight games. The Cowboys signed defensive end Jack Crawford, a two-year veteran cut last week by the Oakland Raiders, to take Lawrence's spot on the roster.
"The Cowboys also signed offensive tackle John Wetzel and defensive back Jemea Thomas, who were both cut by Dallas after making the initial 53-man roster, to the practice squad. The Cowboys now have 10 players on the practice squad, meaning they would have to release one to make room for Sam."
NFL.com's Marc Sessler also confirms the report about Sam, citing his colleague and NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport:
"Michael Sam's NFL journey isn't over yet.
"The Dallas Cowboys plan to bring the free-agent defensive end in for a physical on Wednesday, a team source told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. If the rookie passes, Sam will be added to the team's practice squad.
"The seventh-round pick of the Rams cleared waivers on Sunday after St. Louis released him during their roster reduction to 53 men. NFL Media columnist Michael Silver reported that coach Jeff Fisher 'remains a fan' but the Rams needed practice help at other positions due to injury concerns.
"The NFL's first openly gay player racked up 2.5 sacks this preseason and led the Rams with six tackles in Thursday night's preseason loss to the Miami Dolphins.
"The Cowboys spent Tuesday calling their own players to gauge reaction to making Sam a Cowboy. With the Rams out of the picture, Dallas looms as a solid fit for last year's SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year because of the team's 4-3 scheme and a desperate need for help on defense."
Bringing in Sam should help fill an enormous need at defensive end, per The Forth Worth Star-Telegram's Charean Williams:
"The Cowboys, who had 35 sacks last season, have been in desperate need of pass-rushers after losing defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and defensive end DeMarcus Ware in the offseason. Defensive end Anthony Spencer still is a 'couple' of weeks away from a return from microfracture knee surgery. Rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence went on short-term injured reserve Tuesday, making him ineligible to practice for six weeks and forcing him to sit out the first eight games.
"Dallas did make the signing of former Oakland Raiders defensive end Jack Crawford official Tuesday after trading for Lavar Edwards on Sunday. But neither is a proven pass rusher, which would give Sam a chance to play his way onto the 53-player roster.
"The Cowboys six defensive ends have a combined 62.5 career sacks, with three having none. Spencer has 32.5, Jeremy Mincey 20 and George Selvie 10."
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