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Michael Sam released by St. Louis Rams

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Michael Sam's NFL journey is temporarily on hold.

Battista: Sam proves he belongs
Judy Battista says although Michael Sam didn't make the Rams' 53-man roster, his effort should be considered a victory. READ

The St. Louis Rams released the seventh-round draft pick on Saturday, the team announced. The defensive end was one of the front office's final cuts as the Rams trimmed their roster down to the 53-man limit ahead of Saturday's 4 p.m. ET deadline. NFL Media's Albert Breer reports that Sam cleared waivers on Sunday.

"I want to thank the entire Rams organization and the city of St. Louis for giving me this tremendous opportunity and allowing me to show I can play at this level," Sam tweeted Saturday. "I look forward to continuing to build on the progress I made here toward a long and successful career."

Sam looks like a strong candidate to make an NFL team's practice squad after putting together a preseason body of work that saw him make a consistent impact in the box score. He could also land on another team's practice squad, which mostly get put together on Sunday.

NFL Media Columnist Michael Silver reported Sunday night that Sam will not be on the Rams' practice squad:

Rams coach Jeff Fisher called Sam's release a "football decision" and said Saturday that he shared the news with the rookie on Friday night.

"He said, 'Yes, sir,' and he said, 'I understand,'" Fisher told reporters. "He said, 'Thanks for the opportunity,' and I said, 'Michael, I'm looking forward to visiting with you tomorrow.' He goes, 'I am, too.' That's really all that was said."

Fisher acknowledged that he was "pulling for" Sam after the rookie "did everything we asked him to do" and played the second most snaps on the defensive line behind fellow pass rusher Ethan Westbrooks.

The NFL's first openly gay player led the Rams with six tackles in Thursday night's loss to the Dolphins, but Sam earned lukewarm praise from Fisher after the defeat.

"I didn't really see anything good nor bad out of him, but we'll look at the tape. But he played hard, got a lot of snaps," said Fisher, while noting that he believed the former Missouri star "can play in this league."

Fisher on Saturday pointed out that the Rams also cut sixth-round quarterback Garrett Gilbert and all four of their seventh-round picks, including Sam.

Last year's SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year might have more luck joining a club light on defensive pass rushers, but it's fair to point out that every team but the Rams passed on Sam in May's draft.

"Mike's got ability. Mike played well," Fisher said. "He has the ability to play someplace. It's gotta be the right place, it's gotta be a fit. As someone told me years ago, the difference between a good player and an average player in this league is just snaps, it's reps. He's a much better player now than he was when he got here."

You can track all the cuts as NFL teams reduce their rosters to 53 right here.

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