Michael Sam is the first openly gay player in the NFL, but will he play?
Sam has signed to Dallas Cowboys' practice squad, and ETonline is here to answer your questions about what that actually means.
What is a practice squad?
NFL teams have had practice squads since 1989. Originally, there was a maximum of five players, but now 10 additional players can be added without declaring them as "active." On game-day, there can only be 45 "active" players, but the team's roster can have 53 players. The practice squad of 10 is in addition to the roster of 53 players.
How much do you make on the practice squad?
According to the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement, squad players receive $6300 per week during the season, a total of $107,000. However, if Michael is promoted to the active roster, he will received a prorated version of the $420,000 minimum salary for rookies.
Do you get treated equally when you're on a practice squad?
According to the IBTimes, Michael will "train, practice and eat with the Cowboys' active roster. However, Sam wouldn't be able to play in an actual regular season game unless the Cowboys identify him as a member of their 45-man game-day roster."
Do you have to show up for practice?
Not all practice squads are equal, but players are expected to attend every meeting, know the game plan, and help their position coaches during games.
How long can you be on the practice squad?
You can only be on the practice squad for 3 seasons.
How can Michael Sam get to play in a game?
The Cowboys could promote Michael to their roster or any other team can offer him a contract as long as they plan to make him an active player.
We will have to wait to see if Michael can continue to make history on the Dallas Cowboys as an active player.
Michael won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards. Watch his moving speech below.
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