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Michael Sam, first openly gay NFL draftee, waived by Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys' Michael Sam walks along the

The Dallas Cowboys' Michael Sam walks along the sideline during the second half of a game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. Credit: AP / Brandon Wade

The Cowboys Tuesday waived defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team.

Sam, a seventh-round pick of the Rams in May, was signed to the Cowboys' practice squad Sept. 3. He did not play in any of Dallas' seven regular-season games and is free to sign with any team.

"I want to thank the Jones family and the entire Cowboys organization for this opportunity, as well as my friends, family, teammates and fans for their support,'' Sam said on his Twitter account, referring to team owner Jerry Jones and his family. "While this is disappointing, I will take the lessons I learned here in Dallas and continue to fight for an opportunity to prove that I can play every Sunday.''

Sam made progress during his seven weeks with the Cowboys, but not to the point they were ready to promote him to the game-day roster.

Speaking of Sam last month, Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said: "It's tougher for a practice squad guy, because the other here, they're pounding all week long in terms of fundamentals and game-planning. I like his quickness and instincts. He's got really good work habits.''

Sam had 2 1/2 sacks during preseason for the Rams but was released on the final cutdown. The Cowboys signed him five days later. He was hopeful they would give him the chance to become the first openly gay player to participate in an NFL regular-season game.

Sam made $6,300 per week on the practice squad.

"Comes to work every day and practices hard,'' Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Sam last week. "One of 10 practice roster guys that we have, so he's working on his skills, trying to develop.''

Notes & quotes: The Cowboys signed former Jets linebacker Troy Davis and defensive tackle Ken Bishop to the practice squad. Davis played sparingly for the Jets last year, debuting in Week 8 on special teams. The Jets released him Aug. 30.

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