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Jason Garrett on Michael Sam: “This is about football”

Jason Garrett

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett walks the sidelines at NFL football training camp on Sunday, July 21, 2013, in Oxnard, Calif. (AP Photo/Jason Redmond)


Cowboys coach Jason Garrett says the team’s decision to sign Michael Sam to the practice squad has nothing to do with giving a chance to the NFL’s first openly gay player and everything to do with adding a defensive end who can help the team win.

“This is about football. We evaluated him as a football player and felt like he could help us as a football player. We want to see what he can do. Our attention and focus is on football. It’s on getting ready for the 49ers. That’s the culture that we have around here, that’s the culture that we continue to have,” Garrett said.

Garrett noted that bolstering the defensive line is a high priority for the Cowboys, and he stressed that Sam is going to have to prove himself on the practice squad. Garrett noted that reporters were asking him about Sam when the Cowboys have also recently added defensive lineman Lavar Edwards in a trade with the Titans. That move is more important to the Cowboys than the Sam move because Edwards is expected to be active on Sunday against the 49ers.

“We’ve got to be careful about spending too much time on a practice roster player. We traded for a defensive end who’s going to be on our active roster, from Tennessee. We picked up a defensive lineman who we think is going to be on our active roster. So we tried to address the situation,” Garrett said.

Eventually, if Sam succeeds on his merits as a football player, Garrett will get his wish to talk about him solely as a football player. Today, the Cowboys’ press conference was dominated by the historical nature of having the NFL’s first openly gay player.