Listed as a third-stringer on the depth chart and expected by many to not make the 53-man team, Michael Sam’s quest to become the first openly-gay player on a regular-season roster moved on Friday night to an actual game.
Sam entered the Saints-Rams game with 5:13 to play in the first quarter, according to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The moment came without fanfare or even a mention by the Rams Broadcasting Network, via an NFL Network simulcast.
On his first snap, Sam initially tried to go inside the right tackle, then moved outside as Saints quarterback Luke McCown rolled to the right before throwing an interception.
On his second snap, Sam slid to the inside on a running play, passing the tailback’s path and then blocked from getting back to the ball carrier.
On his third snap, Sam shot to the inside on a passing play, but he was prevented from getting close to McCown.
The Saints kicked a field goal on the next play, ending Sam’s first series from scrimmage in the NFL. The fact that he made it onto the field in the first quarter of the first preseason game should be regarded a a good sign. What he does with the rest of his preseason opportunities will determine his eventual fate.