Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL player, had three sacks in preseason games, but now faces a crucial test. It's the week that the NFL finalizes their rosters, and #SamFans are watching to see if Sam will stay with the Rams, be picked up from another team, or be cut completely from the NFL.
This week Michael Sam learns whether he’ll make an NFL roster. By Tuesday at 4 p.m. EDT, all 32 teams must reduce their roster to a maximum of 75 players. If he survives this cut, the next one comes Saturday after the St. Louis Rams' have played their fourth and final preseason game. If he is released then, all 31 teams will have a chance to pick him up.
Sam has proven he can play in the NFL. Only two other players have more sacks this preseason than his three. In a league that places a high value on pass rushers, and continues to develop rules that help passing offenses, guys like Sam are coveted. Sacks aside, he’s played well or very well in each of his three preseason games. Various Rams beat reporters, including Jim Thomas and Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, have lauded Sam’s performance. In limited preseason action he’s racked up five tackles, in addition to the three sacks.
And in case anyone tries to dismiss this because it’s "just preseason," his first sack on Johnny Manziel on Saturday was against 6-foot-6 offensive tackle Martin Wallace, who’s been on the Browns roster for a year.
Sam’s done all of this with as much pressure on him as anyone else in the NFL has ever felt. If there was any doubt, Sam’s ESPYs speech in July made it clear he knows the hopes of an entire national community rest on his shoulders.