Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted into the National Football League, has failed to make the final roster for the St Louis Rams.
The Rams filed their roster before Saturday afternoon’s deadline and Sam was not among the 53-strong squad.
The 24-year-old defensive end can still be picked up by another team ahead of the season-opening matches next week.
Sam’s move to declare his homosexuality in February was applauded by many, including President Barack Obama.
‘I can play’
Sam was one of 22 players waived in the Rams’ final cut.
He had been selected by the Rams on the final day of this year’s draft in May and he kissed his boyfriend as a national television audience looked on.
Head coach Jeff Fisher had said he was mainly focused on what the footballer could do on the field.
Fisher said on Saturday there would be no challenge for any team that picked up Sam.
“He’s not about drawing attention to himself. He kept his head down and worked and you can’t ask anything more out of any player for that matter,” Fisher said.
“The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I’ve always known. The journey continues,” Sam tweeted after the Rams’ decision was announced.
Sam featured in the 26-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints, saying afterwards: “You know, I can play in this league.”
Sam played college football at the University of Missouri.
He had revealed his sexuality to his former college teammates, but admitted doing so publicly was “a weight off his chest”.
“I probably may be the first but I won’t be the last. And I think only good things will come from this,” he added.
In February, basketball player Jason Collins become the first openly gay athlete to play in a competitive game for a major US professional sports league when he came on for the Brooklyn Nets against the LA Lakers.