Michael Sam: Focused on football, not making history in CFL

Newly signed Montreal Alouettes defensive end Michael Sam tosses a ball while posing at a press conference in Montreal on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

Newly signed Montreal Alouettes defensive end Michael Sam tosses a ball while posing at a press conference in Montreal on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Ryan Remiorz, The Canadian Press (via AP)

Newly signed Montreal Alouettes defensive end Michael Sam tosses a ball while posing at a press conference in Montreal on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Ryan Remiorz, The Canadian Press (via AP)

Newly signed Montreal Alouettes defensive end Michael Sam tosses a ball while posing at a press conference in Montreal on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

MONTREAL — Michael Sam says his priority is helping the Montreal Alouettes win, not making history as the first openly gay player in the Canadian Football League.

Sam signed a two-year deal with the Alouettes last week.

“I’m not trying to really do anything historic here by being with Montreal, I’m just trying to help the team win some games so we can bring the Grey Cup back home,” Sam said at packed news conference Tuesday.

The 25-year-old Sam came out publicly before last year’s NFL draft. He was selected in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams to become the first openly gay player chosen by an NFL team.

The Rams cut him in training camp. The Dallas Cowboys signed him to their practice squad but released him in October.

Sam starred at Missouri in college, earning SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2013.

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Alouettes general manager Jim Popp, who called Sam a “trailblazing athlete,” said he believes the 6-foot-2, 260-pound player can excel as a pass rusher in the CFL.

Sam agreed.

“My size fits as a pass rusher,” Sam said. “I led my team in preseason in sacks and that was in the NFL, so I’m a pass rusher. Doesn’t matter where I’m at.”

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