October 22, 2014 at 12:49 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Michael Sam cut from Cowboys practice team

Michael Sam, football, Missouri, gay news, Washington Blade

The Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday released gay defensive end Michael Sam from its practice team. (Photo by Marcus Qwertyus; courtesy Wikimedia Commons).

The Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday cut gay defensive end Michael Sam from the team’s practice squad.

Sam on his Twitter account thanked the Cowboys, the team’s owners, his teammates and supporters.

“While this is disappointing, I will take the lessons I learned here in Dallas and continue to fight for an opportunity to prove that I can play every Sunday,” he said.

Esera Tuaolo, who came out as gay in 2002 after he retired from the National Football League, is among those who expressed their support for Sam after news the Cowboys had cut him from their practice team broke.

“Keep your head up, fight and remember what you set out to accomplish,” wrote Tuaolo on his Facebook page. “God’s not done with you yet. We all have a purpose in our life and sometime you need to go through the eye of the storm to get there.”

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 NFL in May when the St. Louis Rams picked him during the seventh round of the draft.

The team released Sam in late August before the start of the regular season.

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

Sam joined the Cowboys’ practice team on Sept. 3.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael //

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