Michael Sam showed pass-rushing ability in college and again in the preseason with the St. Louis Rams. However, the Rams didn’t have a spot for him on their 53-man roster.
The Dallas Cowboys, meanwhile, are in need of pass rushers as they try to improve a historically bad defense.
That’s the reason, at least in Jason Garrett’s mind, that the Cowboys signed Sam to their practice squad. It has nothing to do with publicity or anything of that nature as Sam is hoping to become the first openly gay NFL player.
“[The attention] is an external thing,” Garrett said. “It comes from the outside. That’s your decision what question you want to asked. We’re focused on football. The 49ers are going to be here. They’ve been to the NFC championship game the last three years, and we’re going to kick it off with them at 3:25 Sunday at AT&T Stadium. Anyone who’s involved in this organization from a football standpoint is focused on getting ready for this great challenge that we’re going to have. That’s where our attention is, and what people say outside this organization is really up to them. Our focus is on the Niners.”
But Sam is the biggest storyline for the Cowboys today.
The 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year at Missouri had three sacks and 11 tackles in the preseason with the Rams. He’s an intriguing addition for the Cowboys, who had questions about Sam’s speed in fitting their system coming out of college.
“I don’t like to talk about who’s on our board and who’s off our board, but obviously he was a very good player in college, a co-defensive player of the year in maybe the best conference in college football, so his track record speaks for itself,” Garrett said. “We did not draft him, but like with a ton of players around this league, we evaluate these guys all throughout the preseason. We have pro scouts going out to games and evaluating the tape. He did some good things there.
“We feel he has a chance to come in at a position we’ve tried to address really throughout the off-season, throughout training camp, and compete for a spot. … We just want to give him a chance to come in and see if he can help our football team.”