Michael Sam headlines new ‘Dancing With the Stars’ cast

This photo taken Sept. 7, 2014, shows former Dallas Cowboys Michael Sam walking on the field before the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas. Sam said in a TV documentary that aired Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014, that coming out as gay was the right thing to do. He'd have preferred the news come out after he informed the team that drafted him. "It didn't need to be public," Sam said. "Why do gay people have to do it?" (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Michael Sam was released by the Cowboys in October.

Football player Michael Sam has been drafted into another type of competition: “Dancing With the Stars.”

The former Missouri player who was the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL is currently a free agent.

The new lineup for the ABC dancing competition was announced Tuesday morning on “Good Morning America.” Sam will be partnered with professional dancer Peta during the season, which kicks off on March 16 at 8 p.m.


Sam was released by the St. Louis Rams before the start of the 2014 season, then was signed to the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys, who released him in October. He was an All-American and the Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year during his senior year at Missouri.

Get Sports Headlines in your inbox:
The Globe's most recent sports headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Sam will be up against a gold medal winner on the dancing competition show: Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin, who will be paired with pro dancer Derek Hough. Other competitors include Noah Galloway, Robert Herjavec, Patti LaBelle, Riker Lynch, Charlotte McKinney, Red Foo, Willow Shields, Suzanne Somers, and Rumer Willis, Bruce Willis’s daughter.

Erin Andrews will return as the show’s host with Tom Bergeron, along with judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, and Julianne Hough.