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The Waiting Game begins anew for Michael Sam

Friday, August 29, 2014
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St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam looks up at the scoreboard from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Miami Dolphins, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Fla. Lynne Sladky, AP

St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam looks up at the scoreboard from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Miami Dolphins, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Fla.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — For Michael Sam, it’s time for another waiting game, another chapter of waiting for the phone to ring and seeing what someone on the other end says about his future.

And as was the case on NFL draft weekend, Sam is confident things will work out as he hopes.

Sam’s preseason came to an end Thursday night, with a team-best six tackles in the St. Louis Rams’ 14-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The Rams, like all NFL teams, have to cut down their rosters to 53 players by Saturday afternoon — and Sam, the league’s first openly gay player, seems squarely on the bubble.

“I’m very confident,” Sam said. “I’m going to sleep really well tonight and I’m very confident I’m going to be on a team, the Rams or any other team in the NFL.”

He called Thursday his final exam, and afterward gave himself a B-plus grade.

Sometime Saturday, he’ll find out if that’s was enough to make the Rams’ roster.

“I think he can play in this league,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said, “as can some of the other guys on this team who had good preseasons.”

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Sam, a seventh-round draft pick, didn’t start but got playing time on the first Miami drive of the night. He made two tackles in a span of three plays to help force the Dolphins into a punt.

Afterward, as the Rams’ locker room emptied out, Sam said his work merits him a shot.

That is, a victory shot.

If he makes the team, Sam plans to celebrate with a drink and a cigar.

“I did everything I could,” said Sam, who will go see his former college teammates at Missouri open their season on Saturday while the Rams decide his fate. “Now it’s out of my hands. I’m at the NFL mercy, the coaches’ mercy. So we wait.”

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