Defensive end Michael Sam's bid to become the first openly gay player in the National Football League (NFL) looked even more remote on Monday when he failed to make the St. Louis Rams' 10-man practice squad.
Two days after being cut from the Rams' final 53-man roster for the 2014 regular season, and a day after going unclaimed on wavers by any other NFL team, Sam was still on the outside looking in.
The 6-feet-2 (1.88 m), 260-pound (118 kg) former University of Missouri standout became the first openly gay player to be selected in an NFL Draft when he was taken in the seventh round by the Rams in May.
But despite his success at Missouri, talent evaluators have said he might struggle in the NFL, perhaps too small to play regularly on the defensive line and not athletic enough to play in space as a linebacker.
Of the 10 players signed up by the Rams on Monday for their practice squad, eight had been members of their preseason squad before being cut in final roster moves.
The other two were linebacker Denicos Allen, who spent the preseason with the Carolina Panthers, and fellow linebacker Kevin Reddick, who signed with the New Orleans Saints last year as an undrafted free agent.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Gene Cherry)