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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Coach Jeff Fisher hoping Rams don't get picked for HBO's 'Hard Knocks'

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ST. LOUIS - Michael Sam is out of the TV spotlight and the St. Louis Rams are hopeful of avoiding being the subject of another high-profile show.

Coach Jeff Fisher told The Associated Press on Monday that it's "probably unlikely" the NFL will choose the Rams for HBO's "Hard Knocks."

The Rams are among teams eligible to get chosen for three reasons: They haven't appeared on the show for the past decade, haven't hired a new head coach and haven't reached the playoffs either of the past two seasons.

The Rams have never been picked and are coming off a pair of seven-win seasons in Fisher's first two years in the rugged NFC West.

Fisher said the announcement by the Oprah Winfrey network to film a documentary about Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, came as a surprise.

"I think the Oprah thing, it caught us off-guard," Fisher said. "Whenever it takes place, I think it'll be a positive piece."

Just not this summer.

"Not good for the locker room," the coach said. "Nor Mike to get involved at this point."

Sam was the SEC co-defensive player of the year at Missouri, but was drafted late in the seventh round after a poor combine performance combined with other franchises' concerns about taking a player who might be a distraction.

Just a few hours before the series was postponed Friday, a camera crew filmed a rookie workout, interviewed reporters and asked other media members to sign release waivers.

"We had a meeting and we got it resolved satisfactorily for everybody," Fisher said. "The best thing for Mike right now is to just focus on football."

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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