NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Michael Sam reportedly had a powerful ally working behind the scenes after he was cut by Rams over the weekend.

While Sam was unemployed, the NFL worked to gauge interest in the defensive end, according to football insider Peter King. Sam became the league’s first openly gay player when he was drafted in the seventh round by St. Louis.

“During that time, a league official contacted multiple teams asking if they had evaluated Sam as a probable practice squad player,” King said during Thursday’s broadcast of the season opener between Seattle and Green Bay.

“Sam and the NFL avoided a nightmare situation when he signed with the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys,” King added.

Sam was released on Saturday, cleared waivers, and at first interest seemed minimal. The Cowboys eventually came calling, officially signing him on Wednesday.

Some believe the NFL was wrong to lobby for a specific player even with the social impact of having Sam on a roster at stake, not to mention the media attention, sure to be negative if the SEC co-defensive player of the year remained without a job.

“I understand it, but it’s wrong,” WFAN co-host Craig Carton said Friday. “If they went out of their way to find a place for Michael Sam and not for any other guy that got cut, then that’s wrong.”

That said, Carton believes Cowboys owner Jerry Jones acted of his own accord.

“The flip side of that is, the notion that Jerry Jones is doing it on behalf of the NFL is absolutely ridiculous,” Carton said. “If anybody thinks that Jerry Jones did this to benefit the Park Avenue offices of the NFL, then you don’t know a single thing about Jerry Jones. … He don’t give a damn. He cares about the Dallas Cowboys and that is it.”

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