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NFL's First Openly Gay Player Released

  • VOA News

Missouri senior defensive lineman Michael Sam speaks to the media during an NCAA college football news conference in Irving, Texas, Jan. 1, 2014.

Missouri senior defensive lineman Michael Sam speaks to the media during an NCAA college football news conference in Irving, Texas, Jan. 1, 2014.

The first openly gay player selected in the National Football League draft, Michael Sam, has been released by the St. Louis Rams in final roster cuts ahead of the new season.

All NFL teams had to reach a 53-man limit by Saturday, ahead of next week's season openers. Rams officials say the 24-year-old defensive end's fate came down to the team having too much talent on the defensive line.

The seventh-round pick had been cheered by athletes and celebrities, but in the end, Sam could not make a team stocked with pass rushers.

He still has a chance to be picked up by another team, or to make the Rams' practice squad.

If he were to make another team, Sam would become the second openly gay player in one of North America's four major professional team sports following basketball's Jason Collins, who joined the NBA's Brooklyn Nets last season.

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