Michael Sam's prospects for making the St. Louis Rams were reportedly grim after the preseason ended. Despite Sam putting up solid numbers for the Rams, the team was already crowded with defensive ends, including surprising rookie free agent Ethan Westbrooks. Yet on Aug. 29, St. Louis cut 17 out of the 21 players they had to get rid of before Aug. 30, and Sam was not one of them.
With four cuts left that the Rams need to make before this afternoon, Sam is still on the roster for now. However, his fate will probably go right down to the wire, for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, his plans for today consist of cheering on his alma mater Missouri Tigers, instead of stressing about his NFL prospects.
Sam stated after St. Louis's last preseason game on Aug. 28 that he was "very confident" he would sleep well and that he would land on "the Rams or any other team in the NFL." If he doesn't make the cut today, he could still stay on the Rams' practice squad and get called up at a later date. Given that the club has already experienced bad luck with injuries, after Sam Bradford's latest ACL tear, it certainly wants to be prepared if anyone else goes down.
Should Sam get cut, it would be an unfortunate asterisk on the story of the first openly gay player to have a real shot at an NFL roster. Still, it would appear that the decision is being based entirely on merit, instead of any more unpleasant reasons. The unexpected surge from Westbrooks, rather than any form of prejudice, would be a more valid explanation for why Sam wouldn't be a Ram after today.
St. Louis has to finalize its 53-man roster by 4 p.m. est. Ironically, Missouri's opener against South Dakota State is at 3:30 p.m. est, so Sam will find out if he will play on Sunday afternoons right as the Tigers play their first Saturday afternoon game without him.