Michael Sam has signed with the Dallas Cowboys, finding a place on the team’s practice squad.
The move was expected, contingent on Sam passing a physical, and will be announced at a press conference sometime after the team’s practice. A press conference for the signing of a practice squad player is unprecedented, but this is no ordinary player. Sam is the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones loves a good show.
“We just want to give him a chance to come in and see if he can help our football team,” Coach Jason Garrett said in announcing the signing of the defensive lineman during his weekly press conference. Garrett was trying to keep the signing low-key, citing as factors in the signings the Cowboys’ needs on defense and the positive reports the team had gotten on his performance during training camp with the St. Louis Rams. This was not just the signing of another practice squad player, although Garrett downplayed the move.
“This is about football,” he said. “We evaluate him as a football player. … Our attention and focus is on football.”
— DFW Sports News (@SportsDayDFW) September 3, 2014
Sam will wear No. 46 on the practice squad and, if activated to the 53-player squad, his number will change. That’s important because sales of Sam’s Rams jersey trailed only those of Johnny Manziel’s after the NFL draft.
Michael Sam first pics in a cowboys uniform pic.twitter.com/Bl91IRxaVb
— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) September 3, 2014
Sam, the co-SEC defensive player of the year at Missouri, was the 249th player taken in the draft. He was cut Saturday by the Ram and became a free agent when he was unclaimed by the other 31 teams. To make room for Sam, the Cowboys cut seventh-round pick Will Smith.