Rams say so long to Sam
who referred to Sam after the draft as a “designated pass rusher.” Sam shed weight to be faster for special teams duty, reporting at 257 pounds, but Fisher said after the pre-season opener that Sam would have to make the team based on defensive end play.
Sam had a sack in that game and said afterward, “You know, I can play in this league. I can play in this league.”
Sam came out publicly following his final season at Missouri, though he had told his teammates before it began. The Tigers went on to tie a school record with 12 wins. Sam had 11 ½ sacks and the lightly-regarded Tigers won the SEC Eastern Division, a huge step forward after going 5-7 during the first season in their new conference.
“If you look at our season, it didn’t hurt us at all,” recalled cornerback E. J. Gaines, a fellow rookie and former Missouri teammate. “If anything, it brought us closer.”
Sam was lightly regarded out of Hitchcock, Texas, a town of about 7,000 along the Gulf Coast about 40 miles southeast of Houston. His first two years at Missouri, Sam backed up Aldon Smith and Jacquies Smith, both of whom are in the NFL.
From the start, teammates seemed to like having Sam around. His energy was infectious and, if there were problems, they stayed behind closed doors. Publicly, Sam was just another lateround pick trying to make the Rams, which, like other NFL teams, held sensitivity training early in camp.
At one point, Sam’s Rams jersey was the No. 2 seller among rookies online, trailing only Cleveland’s Johnny Manziel.
— The Associated Press