CFL

Alouettes' Michael Sam leaves team for mental health reasons

The first openly gay player drafted in the NFL has told the CFL's Montreal Alouettes that he is leaving the team.
Michael Sam of the Montreal Alouettes warms up before the first half against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Friday. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Michael Sam is stepping away from pro football.

Sam, the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL, has told the CFL's Montreal Alouettes that he is leaving the team.

He tweeted Friday that he became concerned for his mental health.

The Alouettes organization confirmed in a press release that Sam has left the club for "personal reasons" and that he has been added to the team's suspended list.

Sam became the first active pro football player who is openly gay after making his CFL debut for the Als in their loss to the Ottawa Redblacks on Aug. 7. He was used sparingly and only took part in a handful of plays, finishing with no tackles. He didn't dress this week and was put on the injured list when Montreal played the Edmonton Eskimos Thursday night.

The Texan was a former SEC co-defensive player of the year in his senior season at the University of Missouri. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft, but failed to make their lineup. After a short spell with the Dallas Cowboys on their practice roster, he signed a two-year contract with the Alouettes.

Sam also missed part of Montreal's training camp to attend personal matters but returned June 29.

With files from CBC Sports

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