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Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


270204211

Fisher: Sam `was just another player' and `wasn't a distraction at all'

Posted by: Mark Craig Updated September 5th at 12:05am 273765431

Rams coach Jeff Fisher spoke with the Twin Cities media via conference call this morning. Yeah, he was asked about rookie defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team, the Rams, and, as of Saturday, released by an NFL team, also the Rams.

“Well,” he said, “it’s just what I said several days ago. We had needs at other positions. We have nine defensive linemen, five defensive ends, five linebackers on our active rosters. I have several other people who are injured and can’t practice, and we made a football decision. It’s no different than the football decisions we’ve made in years past and will continue to make.”

Reports that Sam soon will sign with the Cowboys sounded like good news to Fisher. As for any of the distractions that some have speculated will follow Sam wherever he goes, Fisher had this to say about his team’s experience:

“It wasn’t a distraction at all,” he said. “On draft day, obviously, there was a lot going on. But [he] was just another guy, just another player. There may be some attention given if someone gives him an opportunity. But beyond that … I heard [signing] with the Cowboys was a possibility. If he does, then he’ll be treated, after things settle, no different than any other practice squad player. ”

The Rams play the Vikings at noon in Sunday’s regular season opener at the Edward Jones Dome.

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