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NFL notebook: Sam added to Cowboys' practice squad

| Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, 7:42 p.m.

Michael Sam's second chance will be with the Cowboys.

The league's first openly gay player was added to the practice squad.

The Cowboys, who are seeking help with their pass rush because of injuries and the offseason release of franchise sacks leader DeMarcus Ware, added Sam four days after he was released by St. Louis when teams had to cut rosters to 53 players.

Sam isn't likely to be on the active roster for Sunday's opener against San Francisco.

Sam went through stretching and individual drills with his fellow defensive linemen during the brief portion of practice that reporters could watch.

“You guys follow me around like hawks,” Sam said after going through his first late-morning workout with the Cowboys. “I've been tired of it since February. I expected it.”

Welker ‘Molly' report

Suspended Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker disputed a report that he took the drug MDMA, or Molly, at the Kentucky Derby in May.

“I wouldn't have any idea where to get a Molly or what a Molly is,” Welker said. “That's a joke. I don't do marijuana, I don't do drugs. I don't do any drugs.”

Welker was suspended for the first four games of the season by the NFL after testing positive for an amphetamine.

Pro Football Talk is reporting Welker tested positive after using Molly at the Derby. The five-time Pro Bowler suggested to the Denver Post that someone might have somehow put it in his drink at the horse race.

He addressed the situation Tuesday in a lengthy email to the Denver Post.

“I'm as shocked as everyone at todays news,” Welker wrote. “I want to make one thing abundantly clear: I would NEVER knowingly take a substance to gain a competitive advantage in any way. Anyone who has ever played a down with me, lifted a weight with me, even eaten a meal with me, knows that I focus purely on what I put in my body and on the hard work I put in year round to perform at the highest levels year-in and year-out.”

Newton sits out practice

Cam Newton hasn't quite recovered from his fractured ribs.

The Panthers fourth-year quarterback was held out of practice due to soreness in his ribs. Coach Ron Rivera still thinks Newton will start the season opener Sunday at Tampa Bay.

“I'm optimistic and I expect him to be there,” Rivera said. “We will see how it all unfolds. We have to look at this day by day.”

Seau family opts out

The family of Junior Seau opted out of the proposed NFL settlement with former players over concussion-related injuries.

The family will continue its wrongful death lawsuit against the league. Seau, a star linebacker for 20 seasons who made 11 Pro Bowls, committed suicide in 2012.

“After careful consideration, the family of the late Junior Seau has decided to reject the proposed settlement as it does not include any valuation for the children's wrongful death claims, among other deficiencies,” the family's lawyer, Steve Strauss said in a statement.

The NFL in June agreed to remove a $675 million cap on damages from thousands of concussion-related claims. A federal judge preliminarily approved the settlement in July.

But former players and their families have the option to not participate in the settlement and pursue their own lawsuits.

Saints bring back Meachem, extend Galette

The Saints gave outside linebacker Junior Galette a four-year extension worth $41.5 million and brought back receiver Robert Meachem.

He says he hopes his deal winds up looking like “a discount” for the Saints, who first signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Stillman in 2010. Galette, 26, became a starter last season after Will Smith was placed on injured reserve. He wound up with 12 sacks.

Meachem, entering his eighth season, was cut Saturday, but the Saints were able to find a roster spot for him when they placed rookie linebacker Khairi Fortt on short-term injured reserve.

Around the league

Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, a member of the Jets' practice squad, was arrested this week after being accused of fighting at a New Jersey hotel near the team's practice facility. … The Giants placed starting guard Geoff Schwartz on recallable injured reserve and signed veteran lineman Adam Snyder. … The Broncos promoted wide receiver Nathan Palmer from their practice squad. … The Buccaneers placed rookie running back Charles Sims of West Virginia on the injured reserve/designated for return list. He will be eligible to play beginning in Week 9.

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