As it turned out, Michael Sam‘s pro football career was pretty short. The St. Louis Rams‘ highly-publicized seventh-round draft was subjected to the politics of NFL protocol when he was cut from the team, and head coach Jeff Fisher couldn’t possibly have done Sam a bigger favor.
Sam attracted a media firestorm prior to the draft mostly due to his sexual orientation, and he milked the attention for the duration of training camp and preseason action. The freshman DE emerged as a situational pass rusher and special teams contributor, recording a mere 11 tackles and three sacks while playing with second- and third-team defense during preseason play.
Don’t get me wrong. Sam definitely made an impression on the NFL, but lets be honest with ourselves — he didn’t exactly stand out on the turf.
Hence Fisher pulled the trigger to cut Sam loose, a personnel move that was routine, strategic, totally acceptable, and in the best interest of the team. In cutting the first-year defensive end, Fisher sent a stern message to any player vying for a place on his roster that nothing is a given, even for those constantly under the media spotlight as favorable underdogs.
The Rams’ pass rush was already loaded with power with the presence of Robert Quinn and Chris Long, arguably the NFL’s most frightening defensive line duo, and the Rams already boast imposing depth behind the first-team defense. For Sam, it is indefinitely game over before his so-called career in the NFL ever kicked off.