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Higgins said Sam asked for and received permission to address his teammates on Sunday; the coaches left the room to the players, and Sam spoke for less than a minute. Higgins said applause could be heard through the closed door.
“He told us he’s all-in,” center Luc Brodeur-Jourdain said. “He missed the game for the short period of time he was away.”
Linebacker Kyries Hebert said Sam “got a pretty good welcome,” and predicted that he would have no trouble earning back his teammates’ trust. Higgins said Sam is trying to fit in with the Alouettes, but the attention he gets as a gay rights pioneer makes that difficult.
“He didn’t want to be standing here until he does something,” Higgins said. “Being put in the limelight doesn’t help him with any of his teammates. He hasn’t played one down in the CFL and he gets more attention than any one of his teammates. That bothers him.”
Among the adjustments for Sam are different rules in the CFL, which has a 110-yard field, three downs instead of four and offensive formations with more movement than in the NFL and American colleges.
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Sam signed autographs and posed for pictures after practice with the handful of fans waiting by the field. Among them was Mike Raimondo, who draped an Alouettes jersey with Sam’s name carefully over his arm.
“I’m new to CFL football. I’m a big hockey fan, but I’m a big Michael Sam fan,” Raimondo said. “When he signed here, I ordered the jersey right away.
“When he left, I had a heart attack.”
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