The public has always been more than a little curious about the lives of the NFL stars. Hence, it comes as no surprise when "Hard Knocks" became a hit among fans of the football community. For its 2016 edition, the NFL Films and HBO Sports documentary series are now focusing on the Los Angeles Rams. Previously located in St Louis, the Nick Foles squad find themselves in the spotlight as the football team attempts to capitalize on the fame of "Hard Knocks" to highlight their move to Los Angeles.
However, it looks like the "Hard Knocks" project of the Los Angeles Rams is in jeopardy. In a recent report from Howard Balzer of NFL Media, it was revealed that the football team was first considered for the documentary in 2014. Clearly, the plan to feature the then St Louis Rams did not push through as the Atlant Falcons took the center stage that year. So, why did "Hard Knocks" not go on to feature the Wes Welker team then?
Blazer revealed that a barter was made to keep the privacy of the NFL team. The said report disclosed that the Los Angeles Rams offered to sign Michael Sam in exchange for their request to not be chosen in the "Hard Knocks" 2014 edition. While no concrete evidence was unearthed, the parties concerned along with some fans believe the report.
"It's been almost two years since the St. Louis Rams selected defensive end Michael Sam in the seventh round of the 2014 draft. At the time, the Rams were hailed for being progressive and drafting the first openly gay player in the National Football League," shared Balzer in his report. He added, "It turns out, according to multiple sources, that the league agreed not to ask the Rams to appear that year on HBO's yearly summer series, HARD KNOCKS, if they drafted Sam."
For his part, the controversial defensive end seemingly confirmed Balzer's report. When reached out to comment on the issue, Sam posted his reaction via social media. According to the former Los Angeles Rams star, the move of his previous NFL team no longer shocked him.
"I'm not surprised at all," posted Sam on Twitter following the reports linking his NFL draft experience with the 2014 "Hard Knocks" edition.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Rams issued a resounding denial of the accusations. Citing that the claims of Balzer undermined the talent of the defensive end, Jeff Fisher slammed the reports. Among the comments he made was his description of the allegations as "absolutely absurd." The Los Angeles Rams head coach added that the report was "100 % incorrect."
Fisher commented, "That in itself is absolutely absurd, it's 100% incorrect. I was really taken aback by those comments. It's insulting, from my standpoint, as it relates to Michael. We had three seventh-round picks. When we drafted Michael he was the best player on the board. Who in their right mind would think that you give up a draft choice to avoid doing something like that?" He added, "It's really unfair to Michael. Michael worked so hard," Fisher said. "It's really not fair to Michael because of all the hard work he put in."
The first season of "Hard Knocks" was aired in 2001 which featured the Baltimore Ravens. The Dallas Cowboys followed suit in 2002. The documentary went on hiatus and came back in 2007 with a feature of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Jerry Jones team once again took the center stage in 2008 followed by the Cincinnati Bengals. The New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins were featured in 2010 and 2012, respectively. The Falcons also had a repeat performance in 2014 with the Houston Texans taking the center stage the year after.