Cowboys Flip-Flop And The Sam Sensitivity

IRVING - The sensitivity of the Cowboys' interest in Michael Sam motivated team owner Jerry Jones to contact multiple locker-room leaders to make them aware of the decision to give the NFL's first openly gay player a chance to win a spot on the Dallas practice squad, sources tell me.

Michael Sam did not earn a draft-worthy grade from the Dallas Cowboys personnel department as he slid to being a St. Louis Rams seventh-round pick and then was a late cut by the Rams.

But the on-field accomplishments of Sam - who is planning to be in Dallas on Wednesday and if he passes a physical could join the Cowboys' practice squad - may end up overcoming that bad grade for a team desperate for pass-rush help.

Did the personnel department change its mind? (Unlikely.) Did the coaching staff pine for help? (Maybe.) Did ownership say, "What do we have to lose to give him a workout? (Makes sense.) And all of that is worth examining ... though not as immediately worthy as the player himself.

At Missouri a season ago, Sam was his conference Defensive Player of the Year. There has been speculation that Sam was being blackballed by some of the NFL due to his sexuality. (There will be more speculation that Sam-as-a-Cowboy is a marketing ploy.) In Dallas that can become a non-issue if he earns a chance to develop.

If he does, he will overcome a lack of bulk (at 257 pounds) and speed. But again, maybe a playmaker is a playmaker. And I think the "circus atmosphere'' might be overblown; there are no indications that St. Louis was much of a circus except the time ESPN issues a breathless report on whether Sam shared the shower with other Rams.

"I don't want to talk about available players," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday morning when asked about Sam. "Not necessarily a player, but just available players. It's not good strategy. We've got competition out here."

And now Sam gets another chance to possibly complete on the field. ... to prove the Dallas scouts wrong ... and to gain acceptance from those team leaders in receipt of the owner's heads-up phone call.

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