August 31, 2014 at 1:44 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Michael Sam cut from St. Louis Rams
Michael Sam, football, Missouri, gay news, Washington Blade

The St. Louis Rams on Saturday cut Michael Sam from the team ahead of the start of the regular season. (Photo by Marcus Qwertyus; courtesy Wikimedia Commons).

The St. Louis Rams on Saturday released gay defensive end Michael Sam during the team’s final cuts before the start of the regular season.

“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,” said Sam on his Twitter page. “I look forward to continuing to build on the progress I made here toward a long and successful career.”

Sam, a former University of Missouri defensive end, came out in February during a series of interviews with the New York Times and ESPN.

He became the first openly gay man drafted into the National Football League in May.

“It was a football decision and it was no different than any other decision that we make,” Rams Coach Jeff Fisher told reporters during a press conference as the Los Angeles Times reported. “It was a football decision back in May to draft Mike. And once again, it’s been about football.”

The Associated Press reported Fisher is scheduled to meet with Sam on Sunday.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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