Michael Sam Cut By St. Louis Rams; Quest For NFL History Hits Setback

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Michael Sam made history as the first openly gay player to be drafted by NFL team, but he won't make history as the first to take the field in the pros just yet.

The St. Louis Rams cut Sam on Saturday, as the former college all-pro was among final four players released before the team finalized its 53-man roster.

So what's next for Michael Sam? He is now on waivers and could be claimed by another team, meaning he would automatically make that club's roster.

If he is unclaimed, Sam may still wind up on the Rams' 10-man practice squad, with an opportunity to make the team that drafted him down the line.

The 24-year-old said via his Twitter account Saturday afternoon:

"I want to thank the Rams organization and the city of St. Louis for giving me this tremendous opportunity and allowing me to show I can play at this level."

"I look forward to continuing to build on the progress I made here toward a long and successful career. The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy."

"This is a lesson I've always known. The journey continues."

St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher called Sam to inform him of the team's decision Saturday afternoon, and the two are expected to meet today in person.

"I was pulling for him, and it just didn't work out," Fisher said.

Sam was one of hundreds of players cut Saturday in the NFL, but because of his cultural significance, his release certainly generated the most intrigue.

Yet despite media distractions such as ESPN's shower coverage or the OWN reality show Sam initially signed on for but then bailed on, he was just a player.

Fisher insisted Sam's "trailblazer" status was a non-issue.

"There was no distraction. If someone perceived or thought there might be, they weren't in the building," Fisher said. "This was a football decision. Mike fit in very well."

"Fun to be around, a good teammate. There was no issue."

While Sam flashed the pass rush ability that helped make him 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, the Rams felt he wasn't among the best at his position.

Will another team disagree and step in and claim him, even within the next day? Or will his road to the NFL be longer and bumpier than many thought on draft day?

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