RAMS EXTRAS

Sam to join Cowboys' practice squad

2014-09-03T05:00:00Z 2014-09-03T22:05:12Z Sam to join Cowboys' practice squadBy Joe Lyons jlyons@post-dispatch.com 636-493-9675 stltoday.com
September 03, 2014 5:00 am  • 

Michael Sam’s NFL football career is heading to Big D.

Sam was scheduled to fly into Dallas on Tuesday night, take a physical today, and sign with the Cowboys’ 10-man practice squad. Practice squad players practice with the team but can’t play in games. With several injuries on their defensive line, Dallas needs help. And with that in mind, Sam could work his way onto the team’s active roster before too long.

Sam, the standout defensive end from the University of Missouri, was cut by the Rams on Saturday. The co-defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference competed and fared well in St. Louis but simply couldn’t earn a spot on a defensive front considered one of the best in the NFL.

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Sam is the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL. Some have wondered if that — and the possible distractions that go along with it— is keeping NFL teams from giving him a chance. But Dallas owner Jerry Jones has never been one to avoid the media spotlight, which could make the Cowboys a perfect fit for Sam, a Texas native. He grew up a Cowboys fan and is elated at the prospect of playing in his home state.

By the way, the Cowboys will travel to St. Louis to take on the Rams on Sunday, Sept. 21.

RAMS ARE NFL’S YOUNGEST

For the third time in as many seasons since Fisher and general manager Les Snead came on on board, the Rams will open the season as the NFL’s youngest team.

In a study conducted by Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com on Saturday evening, when the initial 53-man rosters were turned in, the Rams had an average age of 25.09 to beat out Jacksonville (25.2) and Kansas City (25.34). Dallas (25.44) and Minnesota (25.58) round out the top five.

The Rams host the Vikings to open the season Sunday at noon.

The five oldest teams are Oakland (27), the New York Giants (26.75), Chicago (26.72), Indianapolis (26.66) and San Diego (26.64).

The Rams, who also topped the list in 2012 (25.32) and 2013 (24.98), have just three players age 30 or older on the roster – quarterback Shaun Hill (34), center Scott Wells (33) and guard Davin Joseph (30). The squad’s youngest members – offensive lineman Greg Robinson, running back Tre Mason and cornerback Marcus Roberson – are just 21.

The rest of the breakdown: 13 players are age 23, 10 players are 26, eight players are 24, five players are 25, four players are 29, three players are 27, two players are 28, two players are 22.

That doesn’t include 23-year-old receiver Stedman Bailey, who’s suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

Nowhere on the roster are the Rams younger than in the secondary, where Roberson (21) is joined by E.J. Gaines (22), Maurice Alexander (23), Larmarcus Joyner (23), T.J. McDonald (23), Brandon McGee (23), Trumaine Johnson (24), Rodney McLeod (24), Cody Davis (25) and Janoris Jenkins (25).

GAME-DAY PROMOTIONS

The Rams’ promotional schedule for 2014 is highlighted by a Greatest Show on Turf celebration and the Robert Quinn “Bernie’’ bobblehead.

“Each year, it’s important to us to continue to be innovative and deliver exciting enhancements to our fans’ game-day experience,’’ said Brian Killingsworth, vice president of marketing and branding. “For Monday Night Football, we are tremendously excited to be welcoming back members of the Super Bowl winning team with the throwback foam sticks that were so popular during the Greatest Show on Turf days. We think our fans will also enjoy the unique Robert Quinn ‘Bernie’ bobble and the James Laurinaitis action figure in addition to rally towels and flags to help Rams fans defend our turf. We’re looking forward to and exciting season on the field and in the stands.’’

The promotional schedule

Sunday vs. the Minnesota Vikings, noon • All fans will receive a Rams rally towel presented by Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University Physicians.

Sunday, Sept. 21, vs. the Dallas Cowboys, noon • The team will host its annual “Green Game’’ to spread awareness for living an environmentally stable and socially responsible lifestyle.

Monday, Oct. 13, vs. the San Francisco 49ers, 7:30 p.m. • The Rams will recognize the Super Bowl XXXIV winning squad with a special halftime celebration. All fans will receive a throwback foam stick for Monday Night Football on ESPN. The Rams will be wearing 1999-era throwback uniforms.

Sunday, Oct. 19, vs. the Seattle Seahawks, noon • To commemorate Robert Quinn’s record-breaking 19 sacks last season, the first 15,000 fans will receive a bobble that will mimic the “Bernie’’ dance that Quinn uses as his sack celebration. The game will also serve as the Rams’ “A Crucial Catch’’ Breast Cancer Awareness game, with the bobblehead featuring the American Cancer Society logo.

Sunday, Nov. 16, vs. the Denver Broncos, noon • Local U.S. military heroes will be honored throughout the annual Military Appreciation game.

Sunday Nov. 30, vs. Oakland Raiders, noon • The Rams will highlight the NFL Play 60 program, which encourages youngsters to be active 60 minutes a day and live a healthy lifestyle. Following the game, fans will enjoy a free postgame concert by a national recording artist.

Thursday, Dec. 11, vs. the Arizona Cardinals, 7:25 p.m. • All fans will receive a Rams rally flag, courtesy of Dr. Pepper, for the Thursday Night Football primetime contest.

Sunday, Dec. 21, vs. the New York Giants, 3:05 p.m. • As part of Fan Appreciation Day, the first 15,000 will receive a James Laurinaitis action figure.

RAM-BLINGS

As expected, rookie offensive lineman Greg Robinson was listed No. 2 behind Rodger Saffold on the team’s first unofficial depth chart of the regular season.

• The entire Rams roster, along with Fisher, Snead and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Kevin Demoff, attended a kickoff luncheon at Union Station on Tuesday. Proceeds benefited the United Way.

• The newest Ram, quarterback Case Keenum, will wear No. 17.

Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

Joe is a St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter.

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