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Sam to wear No. 96 in St. Louis

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The first openly gay player in the NFL officially has a number for a jersey that will sell more briskly than any jersey ever worn by a seventh-round pick.

Via Darren Rovell of ESPN.com, the Rams have assigned No. 96 to Sam, the 249th overall selection in the 2014 draft.

Sam’s jersey sales already have outpaced all rookies except Johnny Manziel’s No. 2 in Cleveland.  And as more and more people buy Sam jerseys, it will become more and more difficult for the Rams to cut Sam during training camp or the preseason.

It’s very possible if not probable that Sam will not make the 53-man roster.  Coach Jeff Fisher has said that the same process that prompted the Rams to select Sam in the draft could result in the Rams deciding to move on before he ever plays in a regular-season game with the team.

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42 Responses to “Sam to wear No. 96 in St. Louis”
  1. jf1339 says: May 13, 2014 12:06 PM

    This guy is getting a lot of attention for nothing; he’s gay, big deal, play football.

  2. mlp3180 says: May 13, 2014 12:10 PM

    “And as more and more people buy Sam jerseys, it will become more and more difficult for the Rams to cut Sam during training camp or the preseason.”

    Right, because that logic definitely saved Tim Tebow’s job with the Patriots.

  3. milton11 says: May 13, 2014 12:13 PM

    The easy solution is to cut him and then sign him to the practice squad. Which is mostly what happens to 7th round draft picks.

  4. goldandcrimson68 says: May 13, 2014 12:14 PM

    Why would Jersey sales determine whether or not a guy makes the team? Especially, if he is to be judged on talent alone, right?

  5. khar9 says: May 13, 2014 12:15 PM

    Great American hero… Pro football hall of fame and should have a statue built of him

  6. coltzfan166 says: May 13, 2014 12:15 PM

    He’ll at worst have a practice squad spot with the team.

  7. thekingdave says: May 13, 2014 12:16 PM

    “Sam’s jersey sales already have outpaced all rookies except Johnny Manziel’s No. 2 in Cleveland. And as more and more people buy Sam jerseys, it will become more and more difficult for the Rams to cut Sam during training camp or the preseason.”

    Ridiculous. If my team EVER made decisions based off of anything other than the play of said player, I’d hope the entire front office be cleaned out immediately.

  8. djshnooks says: May 13, 2014 12:18 PM

    Ps. Do your research. I doubt his jersey sales come anywhere close to Stevie Johnson, who was a 7th round pick.

  9. osubrndn says: May 13, 2014 12:19 PM

    if they sell a million michael sam jerseys, they’ll still cut him if he’s no good. Jerseys are shared revenue aren’t they?

  10. tejguy says: May 13, 2014 12:20 PM

    Who cares? Congrats to this kid for getting drafted and living out his dream. But let’s move on from all these minor stories about him until he is is a contributing member of the St. Louis Rams or until he is cut.

    Put up or shut up in the NFL, let’s keep it that way

  11. dalcow4 says: May 13, 2014 12:21 PM

    Gotta figure the Rams are already wishing they hadn’t done this. The minute they cut him it will be “Discrimination! Bigots!”

    But I really admire Jeff Fisher on this– he consistently does whatever it takes to lead his team to 7-9 every year.

  12. stinkymcmulligan says: May 13, 2014 12:22 PM

    Hopefully he gets cut in training camp.

  13. steelerben says: May 13, 2014 12:22 PM

    Can someone please explain how jersey sales prevent someone from getting cut?

    There were plenty of Tebow jerseys sold, and what team does he play for now?

  14. jimmyt says: May 13, 2014 12:23 PM

    That is a very tough line up to crack unless he can maybe switch to outside LB and/or carve a niche out on Special Teams on which the Rams are also pretty strong. Sam has his work cut out for him and I hope he makes the team but it won’t be because of jersey sales or tokenism, that is certain.

  15. platinumraider32 says: May 13, 2014 12:30 PM

    I’ve never seen a player drafted this low garner so much attention. He’s talked about more than the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th round picks!

    Something is rotten in Denmark.

  16. jaxbeachjagfan says: May 13, 2014 12:31 PM

    The Summer of Sam™

  17. donny1rodriguez says: May 13, 2014 12:32 PM

    No wonder why some teams didn’t want to take Sam. What a distraction.

  18. competitivecompetitioncompeter says: May 13, 2014 12:36 PM

    They should play SAM at weak side linebacker, just so my brain explodes.

  19. 6ball says: May 13, 2014 12:42 PM

    .

    Waste a practice squad spot on a guy who’s not going to contribute? In the uber competitive NFC West you’re going to need all hands on deck. Many who start on the practice squad in September are starting playoff games in December.

    .

  20. ketch20too says: May 13, 2014 12:43 PM

    Can’t wait till he becomes jus Michael Sam instead of the first…blah blah blah blah

  21. mandracchia says: May 13, 2014 12:46 PM

    Why 96

  22. annes22 says: May 13, 2014 12:47 PM

    Who cares how many jerseys he sells?If he doesn’t make the roster what a waste of money to spend on a useless jersey.

  23. 49erfan44 says: May 13, 2014 12:47 PM

    Right up until first cuts, nothing to see here.

  24. camcameronsucks says: May 13, 2014 12:59 PM

    I called this in a recent post about him on PFT.

    To recap:

    He played football in Missouri, he got drafted by St. Louis, seem any pattern?

    Because, as I stated before, St. Louis is in the business of making money.

    They drafted this kid in the 7th round 3 days ago and his jersey is already flying off the shelves….

  25. nflpropickemking says: May 13, 2014 1:02 PM

    What next?I can not believe all the attention this guy is getting.

  26. dasmol says: May 13, 2014 1:04 PM

    What do sales matter? The NFL never makes a decision based on money and publicity, right guys?

  27. andymannfl says: May 13, 2014 1:05 PM

    Lol. Who is buying his jersey and actually tracking the sales literally days after he was drafted? It’s still Tuesday, right? The chances he makes that team’s d-line rotation are slim.

  28. clashpoint says: May 13, 2014 1:10 PM

    While some observers might think he’s a distraction, Sam has always been well liked by his teammates. History has shown his character to be very good for the locker room. He’s good for jersey sales and he’ll be good for the ticket office too, it’s looks like an entirely new football marketing demographic is opening up. Just when you thought football couldn’t get any more popular. The organization as whole probably loves him already, right up to the bank.

  29. dalcow4 says: May 13, 2014 1:23 PM

    Pretty skeptical about him being the #2 jersey sold.

    Guess who released that information: The NFL Public Relations dept.

    Translation: “Look how tolerant we are! Just one more reason to like us.”

  30. mediasloppy says: May 13, 2014 1:31 PM

    Can’t believe people are practically routing for his failure before he even gets on the field to practice…

  31. reesesteel23 says: May 13, 2014 1:32 PM

    What about the 200+ players picked before him? What numbers are they wearing?

  32. schmitty2 says: May 13, 2014 1:54 PM

    As a Rams fan I’m starting to wonder if this this was a good move. All of this attention is going to lead to being on Hard knocks and all of the unwanted attention. The team has made major strides to try and be competitive in the toughest division in football and the last thing they need are distractions.

  33. fwippel says: May 13, 2014 2:00 PM

    I cannot wait for the media circus to end over all this.

    Outside of Don Banks at SI, I don’t know of any reporter/journalist who actually put this story into its proper perspective.

    If Sam isn’t good enough to make the team, he’ll get cut and likely end up on the practice squad. It’s all about merit, and how good a football player he is (as it should be). He’s no different than all the other seventh round draft picks out there.

    It’s time the media started realizing that. And while they’re at it, they might want to ask Tim Tebow how all those jersey sales helped save his NFL career.

  34. ravens2xworldchamps says: May 13, 2014 2:03 PM

    We get it. He’s gay. That’s okay. Come on this is like Tebow all over again.

  35. IamtheBucsFan says: May 13, 2014 2:07 PM

    Why is this a story? I believe gays want to be treated with the same respect as everybody else. I’m good with that. Please stop with all the stories that make this guy different. He’s a football player and should be judged like all the others………The press…..jeez

  36. notthetroll says: May 13, 2014 2:11 PM

    lets extrapolate a little…
    IF you get beat up in California for wearing the wrong team’s gear.( which clearly happens according to numerous news reports)
    AND if St. Louis continues to improve, making them a threat to SF and Seattle in the division.
    AND so many non-football people will be buying and wearing his Jersey in support of ‘the first openly gay player in the NFL’, especially in San Francisco where there is a large gay population.
    THEN gay hate crime raises in the most gay friendly city in the US?

  37. jrcoop says: May 13, 2014 2:20 PM

    The Rams are one of the teams the NFL can force to do Hard Knocks, and it looks like they would be the odds on favorite. Fisher may end up getting more exposure from this than he bargained for.

  38. 1phillyphan says: May 13, 2014 3:04 PM

    if all the people that want Sams in the NFL thought about it..they’d shut up..I also think its a great thing for him..but by his actions he wants to be treated fairly..and i agree. But, he isn’t getting fair treatment. He’s a 7th round pick. odds are most 7th rounders don’t even make the team. people are buying his jersey for wrong reasons. most think it will be worth money as jackie Robinson’s was. Not going to happen with 6/ 10 million of em sold. they won’t be rare. Hopefully for his sake he makes the team on HIS OWN MERITS..not because he is gay. if he makes it because he is gay..then all he stands for is wrong.

  39. nonetruerthanblue says: May 13, 2014 3:30 PM

    Money talks. Rams won’t cut him. I’m sure he’s good enough to earn the spot regardless. He’s a good football player.

  40. stillers1229 says: May 13, 2014 3:39 PM

    I’m amazed that all the people who don’t care to hear about him anymore actually take the time to write something on all of the articles about him. Mini-camps haven’t even started and already the kid will be cut?

    Please remember, Michael Sam isn’t the one talking all the time about the fact that he’s gay. He just wants to play football and be treated like everyone else.

  41. seaeagle707 says: May 13, 2014 4:21 PM

    I understand the potential humor in his number, but I’ll leave it to the late night talk show comedians to expound upon it. The statement about jersey sales and his tenure with the team puzzles me. Can’t the Rams continue to sell shirts with his name on them, “after” they cut him? Don’t they essentially buy the rights to the use of his name, when he signs with the team? I don’t know the answers, but perhaps someone else does.

  42. paastahtroy says: May 14, 2014 11:19 AM

    If he gets cut there’s no guarantee he’ll make the Rams practice squad… At that point any other team can pick him up… You don’t think another team will pick him up for football and publicity reasons.

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