EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Bud Sasser will be a member of the St. Louis Rams organization after all.
The Rams announced Tuesday that they've hired their 2015 sixth-round pick, but not for the job they originally selected him for in May. The former wide receiver, who was unable to pass a physical to play and released because of a previously unknown pre-existing heart condition, has taken a job as the team's new external football affairs coordinator.
"We are really excited to have him on board," coach Jeff Fisher said. "He's going to be working in alumni relations and youth football and it's just a great opportunity for him. He's an outstanding young man who obviously had something that was clearly out of his control and I think he realizes that this is the best thing for him from a future standpoint."
In his new role, Sasser will work closely with alumni, youth football and other aspects of community outreach. It's a job that has been a few months in the making.
Despite Sasser's inability to get clearance to play, the team signed him to a contract that paid him a signing bonus of more than $113,000 before releasing him with the non-football-related illness designation in June.
Sasser tweeted thanks to the Rams on Tuesday night.
After the Rams sat down with Sasser and his mother to explain to them that he would not be cleared to play, Fisher said the team began having internal discussions about bringing Sasser back in a different role.
A few days later, Fisher, general manager Les Snead, athletic trainer Reggie Scott and chief operating officer Kevin Demoff sat with Sasser and explained the possibilities for a job.
By his own admission, Sasser was still trying to make sense of a diagnosis that he was unaware of before the Rams told him.
"At that point in time, it wasn't the exact thing that I wanted to hear, but once I came to my senses I realized what a great opportunity it was," Sasser said. "I think the first three days I didn't really talk much. I just kind of shook my head in disbelief. But you can't really sit and just stay stagnant and dwell on the fact that you're not going to be playing right now.
"So if I was doing that, I'd probably be sitting in a dark room right now somewhere. But you can't hold your head [down] on something like that. You've got to move on."
Sasser visited with the team early in training camp to learn about possible job opportunities. A general studies major at Missouri, Sasser wanted something that would keep him close to the game. Football affairs fit the bill.
"All I know is just people getting cut from the team and then having to go home or find jobs elsewhere, probably in something they don't really want to do at all," Sasser said. "I am lucky enough to be in the same building I was drafted to, around the same organization I was drafted to and get to watch the guys practice and play coming up. So I'm still close to the game."
When talking about his new job Tuesday, Sasser repeatedly referred to not being able to play football "right now," but struck a simultaneously optimistic and realistic tone when asked if he'd ever play again.
"Everybody knows I still want to play, I love the game," Sasser said. "But unfortunately, right now that's not what I'm able to do. Really just being around it and being as close to it as possible is a great feeling for me."