Rams say so long to Sam

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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

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