Michael Sam will not be playing for the St. Louis Rams during games when the regular NFL season begins in September, as the team released him on Saturday during a second and final round of cuts.
However, the 24-year-old Texas-born defensive end, who made history by becoming the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, could still end up playing pro football this year.
Sam was picked by the Rams during the 2014 NFL Draft in May and has been playing in preseason games, the final of which was held on Friday. He survived a first round of cuts on Tuesday but did not make it past a second round on Saturday, when the team was trimmed from 75 to 53 players.
Sam posted several tweets in response.
I want to thank the entire Rams organization and the city of St. Louis for giving me this tremendous opportunity and allowing me to (1/2)? Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 30, 2014
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 (2/2)? Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 30, 2014
The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I've always known. The journey continues.? Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 30, 2014
All 31 other NFL teams have until Sunday to decide if they want to put in a claim to have Sam play for them instead. Earlier this month, Sam had said he was interviewing for all of them.
Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher said at a press conference that "there will be no challenge, no challenges whatsoever," for any team that picks up Sam, according to ESPN.
"He's not about drawing attention to himself. He kept his head down and worked and you can't ask anything more out of any player for that matter, he said, adding, "I believe he can play in this league."
Sam could also be made a member of the St. Louis Rams' practice squad, NBC Sports reported, adding that such a decision is expected to be made in the next couple of days.
The Rams' announcement during the NFL draft that the team had chosen Sam, a University of Missouri football team star, to join the team was accompanied by live, emotional footage of him kissing his boyfriend, made international headlines and sparked supportive comments as well as mean-spirited reactions. A live ESPN TV report about his shower etiquette, as quoted by a fellow player, drew controversy this week. The cable network has apologized about it.