MONTREAL — Michael Sam is stepping away from pro football.
Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by the NFL, has told the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes that he is leaving the team.
“The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health,” Sam tweeted Friday. “Because of this I am going to step away from the game at this time.”
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The Alouettes confirmed in a release that Sam has left the club for “personal reasons” and that he has been added to the team’s suspended list.
He did not play in Montreal’s home loss to Edmonton on Thursday night, with the team citing a sore back. He made his CFL debut the previous week.
The 25-year-old defensive end, the 2013 Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year at Missouri, failed to record a tackle in Montreal’s loss to Ottawa.
Sam agreed to a two-year deal with the Alouettes this summer. He left training camp June 12, citing personal reasons, and sat out the team’s first five games.
Sam was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Rams, did not make the team, and spent some time on the Cowboys’ practice squad before being released.
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