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Michael Sam Survives First NFL-Mandated Roster Cut

Sam

Michael Sam, the first out gay player to be drafted into the NFL, made it past a critical cut in the St. Louis Rams’ roster yesterday, keeping alive hopes that he will make the team’s final lineup. AFP reports:

The Rams trimmed four players from the active roster to reach the NFL-required limit of 75 players by Tuesday, but another 22 players must be dropped by Saturday afternoon to create the final 53-man roster for the regular-season openers.

The Rams play their final pre-season game Thursday at Miami and will open the regular season at home against Minnesota on September 7.

Sam, a rookie from the nearby University of Missouri, is among eight defensive ends competing for up to six expected spots at the position. He ranks third on the right side depth chart but injuries could see the Rams keep more players than usual at the position as a precaution.

Though Sam has had a strong pre-season showing, notably sacking Johnny Manziel on Sunday, Sam’s biggest hurdle to landing a spot on the roster could be another rookie on the St. Louis bench this year, Ethan Westbrooks, who, according to Business Insider and Sports Illustrated, “is playing out of his mind” and “is the apparent frontrunner to take the final roster spot for a defensive lineman.”

The Rams' will announce the final team roster this Saturday. 

(photo via Instagram)


Michael Sam Sacks Johnny Manziel Twice in Preseason Match Against Cleveland Browns: WATCH

Manziel

In last night's preseason match-up between the Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams, defensive end Michael Sam collided with quarterback Johnny Manziel twice.

On the first of the two sacks, Sam even threw up Manziel's "money" gesture as a celebratory jest.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP... 

USA Today reports:

Manziel“He’s a talented kid,’’ Sam said of Manziel. “He isn’t called ‘Johnny Football’ for nothing. It was fun getting to play against Manziel in an NFL game.”

Sam now has three sacks this preseason after he recorded his first last week against the Green Bay Packers.

Manziel said he made sure to give Sam props after the game.

“He had an incredible year when we played them at Missouri this past year,’’ Manziel said. “The guy goes through a lot of stuff. He gets heckled by everybody, I’m sure. He came up to me and said, ‘Hello.’ It was just a brief interaction. He played pretty well.’’

The Rams have one last preseason game against the Miami Dolphins this Thursday - the final chance for Sam to secure a spot on the official season's roster. Final cuts are announced August 30.

Previously, "Michael Sam Makes Historic NFL Preseaso Debut: 'I Can Play In This League' - VIDEO" 

Continue reading "Michael Sam Sacks Johnny Manziel Twice in Preseason Match Against Cleveland Browns: WATCH" »


Minnesota Vikings And Chris Kluwe Reach Settlement In Homophobic Coach Investigation

Kluwe

Chris Kluwe and the the Minnesota Vikings have reached a settlement following Kluwe’s pursuit of a lawsuit against the football franchise. After being let go from the Vikings, Kluwe made headlines accusing Viking management of explicit homophobia, which he claims ultimately led to his termination.

In response to Kluwe’s allegations, Vikings management initiated an internal review of events focusing on special teams coach Mike Priefer. Were the team’s investigation not to result in swift punishment for Priefer, Kluwe warned, he would file a formal lawsuit. The Vikings ultimately suspended Priefer for three games and fined him $100,000 to be paid to LGBT organizations, penalties that Kluwe felt were not enough.

“The parties intend to hold a joint press conference early next week to make public the terms of a settlement arrived at late last night,” Kluwe’s lawyer Clayton Halunen told USA Today.


Michael Sam Makes Historic NFL Preseason Debut: 'I Can Play in This League' - VIDEO

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With 5 minutes, 13 seconds to go in the first quarter of a match-up against the St. Louis Rams and New Orleans Saints last night, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player in league history to participate in a NFL preseason game.

As defensive end, Sam played the rest of the first half and about halfway through the third quarter.

Watch Sam's debut, AFTER THE JUMP...

Although some scouts continue to question Sam's long-term professional potential, ESPN reports Sam's coach seemed pleased with his initial performance.

"Mike played hard," coach Jeff Fisher said. "I didn't watch him individually but I saw him on the hurry and the great effort outside the pocket. Saw him on a couple other plays. He slid down and made a play in the run game that stood out. We'll watch the tape and see how he did."  

The Rams ultimately lost the game 26-24, but Sam said he had some valuable takeaways from the night: 

"That I can play in this league," Sam said. "That's the most important. I was kind of nervous. I got some nerves out today. It was a very good learning experience, and I can play in this league."

He added:

"The hardest critic is me, myself. I think I could have done a little bit better. I'm not mad about my first game, but I know I could have done better." 

Sam will have three more preseason chances to secure a spot on the Rams' roster before the season starts in September.

Continue reading "Michael Sam Makes Historic NFL Preseason Debut: 'I Can Play in This League' - VIDEO" »


Michael Sam Responds to Tony Dungy's Remarks with Grace and Humility: VIDEO

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Michael Sam reacted on Tuesday to remarks made by Tony Dungy this week suggesting that he wouldn't have drafted Sam because the Sam's sexual orientation would have been a distraction. Dungy later clarified his remarks and said that Sam should "absolutely" have the opportunity to play in the NFL.

Sam was asked about the remarks by reporters and responded with grace and humility:

Said Sam: "Thank God he wasn't St. Louis Rams' coach. But I have a great respect for Coach Dungy, and like everyone in America, everyone is entitled to their own opinions."

Sam was also asked if he would be surprised "if that pops up from time to time, that somebody disapproves?"

"It is what it is," said Sam. "What you gonna do about it? My focus is on making this team. I'm excited to be back with the guys. Football is fun."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Michael Sam Responds to Tony Dungy's Remarks with Grace and Humility: VIDEO" »


Michael Sam Covers OUT Magazine: PHOTO

Sam

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, covers August's issue of OUT Magazine. The interview got off to something of a rocky start because Sam first mistook his interviewer for being straight. However, once Sam discovered he and interviewer Christopher Glazek were both part of the same brotherhood of man, everything changed:

Desperate to turn things around, I started talking about myself and mentioned visiting a boyfriend in upstate New York. Suddenly Sam’s head perked up; for the first time, he looked me in the eyes. “Wait—you’re gay?” I wasn’t sure how this could have been unclear. “Uh, yes,” I replied, wonder- ing how he was going to take the news. “Oh!” he blurted, his voice rising five octaves. “And Aaron [Hicklin, Out’s editor in chief ]? Is he gay, too?” I nodded. His face melted into a smile; he inched his chair closer to the table and loosened the furrow in his brow. “I thought you guys were straight! That’s why I was giving you a hard time.” His eyes, which had glared with impermeability all through the shoot, suddenly started to radiate warmth and comradeship. Sam’s metamorphosis was so sudden and cartoonish, it suggested how much energy he was having to expend to protect his sexual orientation from people he feared would use it against him.

From that point on Sam opened up about his relationship with boyfriend Vito Cammisano, whom Sam famously kissed upon hearing the news that he had been drafted by the St. Louis Rams. The pair met for the first time at a lingerie party during his freshman year: 

“We didn’t start off as huge fans of each other. I went up to him to ask if he was OK, and he started cursing at me, screaming, ‘Fuck off — do you know who I am?’ I told him I didn’t care who he was. We didn’t speak again for two years.”

The two later reconnected and today, Sam cites Cammisano as being the instigating force behind him taking the courageous step to come out to his team in college: 

By the time they were reintroduced by a mutual friend during Sam’s junior year, Cammisano had come out as gay. Sam, though, was still in the closet. One night, the trio went out together to a bar. “I could see he was interested,” Sam said. “I bought him a couple of drinks, got us tipsy. Toward the end of the night, I put my arm around him, and it was over.” The two started dating, but Sam was concerned about his teammates finding out. “Everyone knew Vito was gay, so we couldn’t even be seen together. There was a lot of climbing out of windows.” Eventually, the two split. As time went on, though, Sam grew more comfortable with being gay and the couple got back together before Sam’s senior year. This time they made no efforts to hide their relationship, and Sam decided it was time to formally come out to his team. “Vito was really the person who showed me I had to do it,” Sam said. “I wanted us to be comfortable...When I got up there in front of my team, it was actually the first time I said the words to anyone: ‘I am gay.’ Mizzou is a family. At another school, it might have been a different story.”

You can read OUT's full cover story on Sam HERE.   


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