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Originally published Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 9:54 PM

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Cowboys sign Michael Sam to practice squad

Michael Sam waded through a crowd of reporters and was settling in front of yet another bank of cameras when someone asked if this was what it was like in St. Louis.


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IRVING, Texas — Michael Sam waded through a crowd of reporters and was settling in front of yet another bank of cameras when someone asked if this was what it was like in St. Louis.

“The heat?” Sam said, drawing laughter from two dozen or so people surrounding him as he stood in front of a large Dallas Cowboys star on a wall just outside the locker room.

No, the latest version of the circus after the league’s first openly gay player signed to the practice squad of America’s Team. He’s unlikely to get into the opener Sunday against San Francisco and might still face long odds of joining an active roster anytime soon.

But Sam got his second chance to make it in the NFL four days after the Rams released the seventh-round pick when they had to cut the roster to 53 players.

“You guys follow me around like hawks,” Sam said after going through his first late-morning workout with the Cowboys. “I’ve been tired of it since February. I expected it.”

The Cowboys, who are seeking help with their pass rush because of injuries and the offseason release of franchise sacks leader DeMarcus Ware, expected it, too.

Coach Jason Garrett said the move was “about football” and deflected any questions about the impact of bringing in Sam or how it might affect the locker room.

Being on the Dallas roster means Sam is returning to his home state. He was a lightly regarded recruit out of Hitchcock, Texas, a town of about 7,000 along the Gulf Coast.

Notes

• Broncos receiver Wes Welker, suspended four games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy said he doesn’t know what a “Molly” is. Pro Football Talk is reporting that Welker tested positive after using MDMA, also known as Molly, at the Kentucky Derby back in May.

“I wouldn’t have any idea where to get a Molly or what a Molly is,” Welker said. “That’s a joke. I don’t do marijuana. I don’t do drugs. I don’t do any drugs.”

• San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh hasn’t ruled out Ray McDonald playing in the opener Sunday at Dallas, and the defensive lineman is practicing. McDonald faces felony domestic-violence charges.

• New Orleans pass-rushing outside linebacker Junior Galette confirmed his $41.5 million extension through 2019. The Saints also re-signed veteran receiver Robert Meachem.

Cam Newton hasn’t quite recovered from his fractured ribs. The Panthers’ fourth-year quarterback was held out of practice but is still expected to start the season opener Sunday at Tampa Bay.

• The NFL said concussions were down 13 percent from the previous year and the number of concussions coming from helmet-to-helmet contact was down 23 percent.

• The family of Junior Seau has opted out of a proposed NFL legal settlement with former players over concussion-related injuries.



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