Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by the N.F.L., was released by the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday after spending seven weeks on their practice squad.
Sam has not appeared in a regular-season game. He was drafted in the seventh round by the Rams but cut in training camp before being signed to the 10-man practice squad for Dallas on Sept..3.
The team announced the move on its website, explaining that it was intended to open a spot for linebacker Troy Davis, a second-year player from Central Florida whom the team brought in for a workout Monday.
Sam, an all-American and co-defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference as a defensive end for Missouri, made his sexual orientation public after his final college season, in an interview with The New York Times. That sparked a wide debate over whether it would hurt his standing as an N.F.L. prospect because he was initially considered a third- or fourth-round pick.
His predraft workouts raised questions about whether he was fast enough to play linebacker in the N.F.L. or big enough (he is listed at 6 feet 2 inches, 260 pounds) to play defensive end. He was practicing as a defensive end with both the Rams and the Cowboys.
In four preseason games for the Rams, Sam had 11 tackles and 3 sacks, including a team-leading six tackles in the final game. But the Rams did not add him to their practice squad after waiving him, although Rams Coach Jeff Fisher said, “I do believe he can play in this league.”
The Cowboys owner Jerry Jones recently called Sam’s sexuality “a dead issue,” and attention around him had died down as he lingered on the team’s practice squad without making the 53-man active roster.
Sam thanked the Cowboys for the opportunity in several posts on his Twitter page.