The team that drafted Michael Sam had to be ready either to cut him if he’s not one of the best 53 players on the roster or to carry him on the roster if the team isn’t prepared for the scrutiny that would come from cutting him.
In remarks to reporters after the Rams drafted Sam, coach Jeff Fisher made it clear that the Rams will do whatever the team must do, consistent with the usual process of drafting, signing, and cutting players.
“[W]e picked him within the process and we’re going to reduce this roster within the process,” Fisher said of Sam. “So I don’t see that being an issue.”
It could be an issue for those in the media who don’t understand how the process works. Seventh-round picks routinely are cut by the teams that drafted them. For Sam, the challenge of making the team becomes even more difficult because of the quality and depth of the team’s pass rush.
“[I]t’s going to be very competitive for him, as it will be for some of the other guys, the later picks, because of the depth and the talent level at the position,” Fisher said. “He’s going to have to come in, and like the rest of his new teammates, these rookies, they’re not in shape. Not in the condition our veterans are in. He’s going to have to work to get in great shape and we’ll blend him in the offseason program and we’ll go.”
If Sam ultimately goes from the team, Fisher surely will face questions regarding whether the locker room refused to accept Sam or whether some other issue relating to Sam’s sexuality prompted the move. But if won’t be the first or the last uniformed question Fisher faces. He’ll undoubtedly answer it and move on.