Rams DE Michael Sam was cut, but was not picked up on waivers by any other NFL team, leading many to suspect that the possible distractions Sam was bringing had a lot to do with it.
The St. Louis Rams cut DE Michael Sam, the first openly gay athlete in NFL history, leaving him to hit the waiver wire. However, after the deadline for waiver pickups ended, no team had claimed the productive defensive end.
Michael Sam performed very well in the preseason, recording several sacks and big hits on QBs, including an infamous sack on Browns QB Johnny Manziel. It was no surprise that Sam was cut considering the level of depth the Rams defensive line had, but with so many 4-3 defensive teams struggling to find quality linemen, many people have asked “why?”
When NFL insider Ross Tucker tweeted the question everyone wanted answered, Bills captain C Eric Wood had his own opinion on why Sam cleared the waivers so unexpectedly:
@RossTuckerNFL blame that on espn. No one wants the distraction
— Eric Wood (@EWood70) August 31, 2014
Wood’s comments are not completely unfounded. Just last week ESPN reported a story that Sam was choosing not to shower with teammates.
A common perception around the league is that Sam would be a distraction for NFL teams – some former coaches including former Superbowl champion coach Tony Dungy openly stated that they would not want to coach Sam because of the combination of a distraction along with his religious faith.
Michael Sam was drafted in the 7th round of the 2014 NFL draft out of Missouri. He was the SEC’s co-Defensive Player of the Year after recording 11.5 sacks and 19.0 tackles for a loss.