St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - If Michael Sam does open the regular season on an NFL roster, it will have to be on another team.
The league's first openly gay active player was among 21 players waived by the St. Louis Rams as the club whittled down its roster to the 53-man limit on Saturday.
Sam, a seventh-round pick in this year's draft who publicly declared his homosexuality prior to February's scouting combine, was beaten out by rookie free agent Ethan Westbrooks for the last of nine defensive ends kept by the Rams.
The 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year can still be claimed by any other team over the next 24 hours, and appears to stand a good chance of remaining a member of the Rams if he does pass through waivers. ESPN reported Saturday that Sam is likely to be part of St. Louis' 10-man practice squad if he's not picked up by another organization.
Sam stated his case to make the Rams' active roster with a strong preseason in which he compiled 11 tackles and three sacks in four games. The former Missouri standout led St. Louis with six tackles in Thursday's preseason finale against Miami.
Sam headlined a St. Louis cut list that also included defensive tackle Matt Conrath, quarterback Garrett Gilbert and safety Christian Bryant. In addition, the Rams placed wide receiver Stedman Bailey on the reserve/suspended list.
Bailey will sit out the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Gilbert was a sixth-round pick in this year's draft, while the Rams took Bryant eight spots ahead of Sam at No. 241 overall. Conrath had seven tackles and a sack in eight games for St. Louis last season.
Also waived on Saturday were wide receivers Emory Blake, Austin Franklin and Justin Veltung, guards Travis Bond and Brandon Washington, defensive end Kourtnei Brown, safety Avery Cunningham, defensive tackle Deantre Harlan, linebackers Aaron Hill, Etienne Sabino, Phillip Steward and Lawrence Wilson, offensive tackles Sean Hooey and Mitchell Van Dyk, defensive back Greg Reid, tight end Brad Smelley and cornerback Darren Woodard.