Former Missouri player Michael Sam watches pregame festivities before the start of the South Dakota State-Missouri NCAA college football game Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in Columbia, Mo.
L.G. Patterson/Getty

Michael Sam joins Dallas Cowboys practice squad


Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by the National Football League, is officially a Dallas Cowboy.

The 24-year-old Mizzou alum, who was cut Saturday from the St. Louis Rams, passed his physical Wednesday morning, and was signed to the Cowboys’ 10-man practice squad, reported NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. Dallas coach Jason Garrett told reporters Sam would help develop and evaluate personnel, a position the team had tried to fill throughout training camp.

“We’ve got nothing but good reports about him from our people and people in St. Louis,” said Garrett at a press conference Wednesday. “We just want to give him a chance to come in and see if he can help our football team.”

The night before, Sam was spotted at the St. Louis International Airport en route to the Lone Star State.

“I’m excited to be a Cowboy, it’s great to be heading home,” said Sam, a Texas native, to the Daily Mail.

Sam made history earlier this year when, in the seventh and final round of a three-day draft, he went to the St. Louis Rams as the first openly gay NFL draftee. Yet despite an impressive preseason performance, Sam failed to earn a spot on either the Rams’ 53-man playing roster, or the team’s practice squad.

Some speculated that Sam was cut because his sexual orientation proved too much of a distraction. But Rams coach Jeff Fisher insisted the decision was based on the particular needs of the team, which already had a strong roster competing with Sam for defensive end.

Sam told the Daily Mail he hadn’t yet had a chance to speak with any of his family members about the possibility of playing with the Cowboys, but that he was looking forward to heading home and joining the team.

“I never followed the Cowboys growing up because I never had a team,” he said. “I am a fan of defenses and Dallas needs some help, that’s why I’m going.”

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