Sunday's roundup: Sam is happy to work at combine
Tempe, Ariz. — The strain and sweat on their faces showed just how much one more chance in the NFL means to Michael Sam and 104 others.
Except for pro days for college players entering the draft, March isn't usually a time for running sprints and drills before scouts.
Then again, these "veterans" will take any opportunity to prove their worth.
"Whoever wants me," Michael Sam said Sunday when asked about returning to the field for the initial NFL veterans combine.
The defensive end, the first openly gay player drafted, didn't make it with the Rams last year, cut at the end of training camp. He landed on the Cowboys' practice squad for a few weeks, then was released.
"If the Rams or Cowboys want me, I'm on the first flight out," he said.
Unlike many of the others on hand, including a variety of former first-round draft picks such as Brady Quinn, Felix Jones, Jamaal Anderson and Adam Carriker, Sam really has a blank NFL resume. But he's certain he'll get a shot at a roster spot.
"Absolutely, I think my chances are high," Sam, 25, said. "As long as I have that will to play the game and I am healthy, you'll continue to see me trying to play in this league. I am very confident I will be playing football somewhere."
Sam didn't rule out Canada, either: "If that's the opportunity, I'll take it. I'm a fighter and I'm going to keep fighting.
"I'm young and I'm still good. I don't have any injuries. I'm going to play."
Former Lions running back Mikel Leshoure ran a 4.7 and 4.8 40.
Many of the players in Tempe have played extensively in the league and were among more than 1,800 applicants for this combine. Whether they were released or, quite often, injured, they couldn't — or wouldn't — come to grips with their NFL careers being over.
Jones, who spent five seasons in Dallas, showed some burst at the combine.
"Every veteran wants another opportunity to showcase what he can do," he said.
These veterans — at least the ones who have had a true taste of the NFL — understand just how much it takes to remain there.
"Yeah, this shows people I am still around," said running back Michael Bush, 30, a six-year veteran who last played in the league with Chicago in 2013.
Rams' owner Stan Kroenke has designed a Los Angeles-area stadium for two clubs — with two home locker rooms, identical sets of office space and two owners' suites.
St. Louis doesn't need to partner with a second team to finance the $1.86-billion venue in Inglewood, but the league considers Los Angeles a two-team market and wants a stadium that could accommodate both, according to the Los Angeles Times.
His plan competes with one by the Chargers and Raiders, who want to share a stadium in Carson.
... The Steelers resigned linebacker James Harrison to a two-year deal.
... Receiver Greg Jennings (Western Michigan) visited the Panthers.