Michael Sam is hoping to play in an NFL game this season, which would make him the first openly gay player to do so. According to his position coach, Sam is making progress on the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys.
"He's done some good things," defensive line coach Rod Marinelli told the Dallas Morning News. "The only thing he really gets is some of our individual periods and then he gets some one-on-one rushes on Wednesday, and I think he's gotten a little bit better.
"But it's tougher for a practice squad guy because these other guys here, they're pounding with all week long in terms of fundamentals and game-planning and those things. So it's a little tougher, but he's got movement. I like his quickness and his instincts. He's got really good work habits, so just keep working to develop him."
This does not mean Sam will be called up to the Cowboys active roster. Only four players from the practice squad were called up by the Cowboys in 2013. But one Cowboy, defensive lineman Jeremy Mincey, took the same route to an active roster that Sam is now traveling on. Mincey was on the Patriots practice in 2006 and never played in a game. The next season he was signed by Jacksonville and has been on a team since, playing in this year's Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos.
"He's won a lot of rushes, Mincey said. "He's doing a good job. He's got a lot to learn and that comes with experience. I was just like him, a young guy on the practice squad, so it's a good developmental phase for him to get better."
The Cowboys defense has not been the train wreck everyone was expecting through two games. Their pass defense is middle of the pack, yet they have only three sacks. Sam needs to be patient and hopefully he will get a chance to be on the field sometime this season.