Michael Sam is back in Missouri, working on a master's degree and still hopeful for a career in the NFL after abruptly leaving the Montreal Alouettes.

Sam, the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL, told a Columbia, Mo., TV station this week that his life has been a "roller coaster" since the St. Louis Rams picked him in the seventh round last year.

The 2014 Southeastern Conference defensive college player of the year from Missouri was cut by the Rams and spent part of last season on the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad before being released.

Sam, 25, signed a two-year deal with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes this summer, but quit in August after playing just one game. He said on Twitter at the time that the past year had been so difficult he was worried about his mental health.

'I never really wanted to go to the CFL, but I did and I committed to going.' - Michael Sam

Sam admitted to never really wanting to play in the CFL on the Dan Patrick Show on Friday.

"It was a really last call to go to the CFL. I never really wanted to go to the CFL, but I did and I committed to going," Sam told Patrick.

"But you know, I left [the Alouettes] with some personal issues the first time and the second time I came back I really hadn't gotten over those issues," he said, referring also to an earlier leave of absence from the team in June.

Sam said he wants to return to the NFL in 2016.

For now, he's content to work on a master's degree at Missouri, trying to see if a career in broadcasting suits him.

"It's been a roller coaster," Sam said. "I've been trying to figure out what's next in my life. I've just come to a conclusion, as I take this break from football, I want to focus on my media training."

All of the media attention after Sam came out in February 2014 was overwhelming, he said, but eventually he got used to it. It also whetted his appetite for a career in media.

Still, he felt a need to scale down and step back. In addition to dropping out of the Canadian league, Sam has since parted ways with his agent and publicist.

With files from CBC News