Michael Sam leaves Alouettes training camp for personal reasons

Michael Sam has asked to leave the Montreal Alouettes training camp and "return home for personal reasons," the team said in a statement this afternoon.

1st openly-gay player to get drafted to the NFL signed a two-year deal with the Alouettes last month

Michael Sam, seen here at a press conference after signing with Montreal last month, has left the team indefinitely. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Michael Sam has asked to leave the Montreal Alouettes training camp and "return home for personal reasons," the team said in a statement Friday. 

​​The team released the statement following media reports noting the defensive end's absence at training camp. 

"With all due respect for Michael Sam, the nature of this decision will remain confidential,'' the statement said.

"The team has left the door open and Michael is welcome to come back whenever he feels ready."

The team said it would offer no further comment for the moment.

Sam's departure comes three weeks after he inked a two-year contract with the Alouettes, becoming the first openly-gay player to sign in the CFL. Montreal plays its first pre-season game Saturday night in Quebec City.

The 25-year-old Sam was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams. He was later cut by the Rams and from the Dallas Cowboys' practice roster.

Sam is part of a tiny group of professional athletes who have chosen to go public about their sexual orientation. Retired NBA player Jason Collins came out in April 2013 while Los Angeles Galaxy soccer star Robbie Rogers is the lone out player in Major League Soccer. There are no openly gay players in Major League Baseball or the NHL.

A star at Missouri in college, Sam earned SEC Defensive Player of the Year honours in 2013 before turning pro.

with files from The Canadian Press


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