Tha Sports Junkies 101

NFL Made Deal With Rams Over Michael Sam?


NFL Made Deal With Rams Over Michael Sam? According to reports, there may have been some coercing.

Reports are coming out that former St. Louis Rams DE Michael Sam may not have exactly been chosen for the reasons that St. Louis or the league have stated. In a report by MSN Sports, The Rams agreed to pick Sam (the first openly gay player in the league), who was a seventh round draft pick, in exchange for not being featured in HBO‘s yearly summer seriesHard Knocks, which usually showcases teams in the league, according to sources.

After finishing off his college career, the 6’2″ 261 lbs. defensive end came out that he was gay to friends and family, also making it publicly known to those who showed interests in picking him for their teams. As the Southeastern Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, Sam was considered a shoe-in to be brought into the league, though, he was believed to be a fifth rounder, at best. With the draft winding down to its final days, it was looking like he wouldn’t get picked up by anyone.

The belief is that the NFL didn’t want to face any questioning about him not getting picked, and, with the Rams playing within 90 miles of the Missouri campus, they seemed to be a perfect fit for Sam to join. Coupled with Jeff Fisher‘s ability to handle tough situations, The Rams picked Sam with the 249th pick, out of the 256-player draft, giving him a definite home (so it was believed) within the league.

However, here it is, almost a full two years later, Michael Sam is no longer in the league, and The Rams are now going head-first into the spotlight, agreeing to participate in this season’s edition of “Hard Knocks”. After the Rams moved to Los Angeles this January, as the annual owners meetings started coming to a close, the NFL made a quick announcement that the Rams would be featured in this year’s series.

Of course, covering the Rams this season is a big deal, since this would be the first time since 1994 that the Los Angeles area has had any kind of dealings with the NFL, but, what makes in an interesting situation is that the Rams are now okay with the idea of HBO cameras being around while they do their workouts and practices. Something Fisher has always been against.

The even more interesting thing about it is that back in 2014, two weeks after Sam was drafted, Fisher was asked about the possibility of the league picking the Rams for the show, which could have happened, considering the league’s requirements for picking a team to be featured consists of a team that hasn’t been featured on the program in 10 years, didn’t have a new head coach, or hadn’t made the playoffs in two years. All of which the Rams fit. Said Fisher then:

“We are eligible, but I think it’s highly unlikely they’d ask us to do it. I think this organization has a right to go through training camp with some normalcy.”

Normalcy, of course, was loosely considered, as the team faced countless press conferences for a seventh-round draft pick, that, with a late training camp ESPN report that highlighted the team’s shower habits, compared to Sam’s, which was reported by Josina Anderson. Something that they might not have to worry about this season.

Fisher showed much enthusiasm in a recent press release, which read:

“This is an exciting time for our franchise. Hard Knocks will be an outstanding way to bring our fans into our training camp and preseason, and give a glimpse of the hard work and dedication of our players, coaches and staff as we prepare for the 2016 season.”

Well, when you consider that they no longer have to concern themselves with the possible distraction of coverage that Sam would have possibly received had he stayed with the team, you can see why he wouldn’t have a need to worry. Sam, who was waived in the cut-down to 53 players back in 2014, had a brief stint on the Dallas Cowboys‘ practice squad that season, but would wind up leaving to the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, but left in 2015, after having been unused there, as well.

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Photo by Andres Leonardo Stangalini, via Flickr.