The Dallas Cowboys have signed Michael Sam to the team's practice squad.
Sam's fate with the NFL seemed uncertain after he was released by the St. Louis Rams and spent the weekend being passed over by the remaining 31 teams, leading many, myself included, to speculate that homophobia had played a strong hand in limiting his career prospects.
While league officials (speaking on condition of anonymity, naturally) said that Sam's presence on the field would be a "distraction," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett called the choice to sign Sam "about football."
"We evaluated him as a football player and felt like he could help us as a football player," Garrett said during a Wednesday press conference. "We want to see what he can do. Our attention and focus is on football. It’s on getting ready for the 49ers. That’s the culture that we have around here, that’s the culture that we continue to have."
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Garrett noted that bolstering the defensive line is a high priority for the Cowboys, and he stressed that Sam is going to have to prove himself on the practice squad. Garrett noted that reporters were asking him about Sam when the Cowboys have also recently added defensive lineman Lavar Edwards in a trade with the Titans. That move is more important to the Cowboys than the Sam move because Edwards is expected to be active on Sunday against the 49ers.
“We’ve got to be careful about spending too much time on a practice roster player. We traded for a defensive end who’s going to be on our active roster, from Tennessee. We picked up a defensive lineman who we think is going to be on our active roster. So we tried to address the situation,” Garrett said.