By Ross Murray, Director of News By Glaad.org
Michael Sam may be joining the Dallas Cowboys. It was reported that the Cowboys were bringing him in for a physical, with the intention of signing him onto the team’s practice squad.
Michael Sam was cut from the St. Louis Rams over the weekend, and wasn’t picked up by any other team, including the Ram’s own practice squad.
Last year the Cowboys had the third-worst pass defense and the worst overall defense in the NFL, allowing over 415 yards per game. They recorded only 34 sacks on the season, and quarterbacks racked up a 96.0 average passer rating against them.
These are not good numbers. Sam can have an immediate impact on the team in the coming weeks.
The Cowboys were always a potential great fit for Sam on the field. They currently have five defensive ends on the active roster, the fifth of which is Lavar Edwards whom they acquired in a trade from Tennessee this weekend. They also have DE Kenneth Boatright on the practice squad. Edwards graded out at -1.7 by Pro Football Focus in the preseason; Sam graded at +0.6.
Tyrone Crawford, a backup defensive end on the squad, spent last season on injured reserve.
These spots are all up for grabs for a guy like Sam, meaning there are far more opportunities to make the active roster with the Cowboys than existed with the D’line-heavy Rams.
While Sam is rumored to be considered for the practice squad, some are speculating that Sam may end up playing on the field. Outsports further noted what sort of cultural impact this signing might have:
It’s the perfect football fit for Sam, and I think Dallas is a powerful landing spot for him.
Culturally, this signing would be an earthquake. Texas is held up by the gay community as this country’s great bastion of homophobia. For the revered Cowboys to bring him in and sign him would send a very clear message that yes, at the end of the day, the NFL is a true meritocracy. If the Cowboys make the move, this is the second team in the Bible Belt to sign Sam.
On Wednesday, the Dallas Cowboys could become a model for inclusion.