Rookie defensive end Michael Sam was signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad on Wednesday, but he is not expected to be activated to the 53-man roster to face the San Francisco 49ers in Sunday’s Week 1 matchup.
“He just got here this morning. He needs to understand what we’re asking him to do,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told the Bay Area media in his Wednesday conference call. “We have a full complement of defensive guys who have been here for a while… (Sam has to) get into the flow of things and hopefully improve and show us that he belongs as quickly as possible. That’s the phase that he is in.”
To play Sunday, Sam would need to show enough ability in his first practices with the Cowboys to be called up to the active roster.
Originally signed by the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent, Sam – who is seeking to become the first openly gay athlete to play in the NFL – was released on Saturday as one of the final roster cuts.
“It was a football decision,” Garrett said. “We’re all trying to make our team better. You look at a lot of different ways to do that: drafting guys, signing guys in free agency and certainly once you get to the final cuts, it’s a good opportunity because a number of players are out there.
“So we try to do our best like everybody does around the league to evaluate those guys, and if one of them can come in and help our team get better, we’re certainly open to that. And that’s the case with Michael.”
The Cowboys recently lost rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence for at least eight weeks with a broken foot. The defensive ends that are expected to be available to the team come Sunday are Jeremy Mincey, George Selvie, Tyrone Crawford, Lavar Edwards and Jack Crawford.
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