The first openly gay NFL player is leaving professional football. Micahel Sam has told the Canadian Football League’s, Montreal Alouettes, that he is leaving their team. Sam released a statement on Twitter Friday, “The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health. Because of this I am going to step away from the game at this time.”
The Alouettes confirmed that the defensive player did in fact leave the team for “personal reasons”, but he has been added to the team’s suspended list. The team stated on Thursday that the 25-year-old didn’t play in Montreal’s home game Thursday night, due to a sore back. However, it seems that injury claim may have been just a cover up and Sam may have just decided to stop playing for the team for personal reasons. Last week was the defensive end’s CFL debut, but he didn’t perform well.
Sam, who was once a Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year at the University of Missouri, has seen his football career worsen ever since he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2014. After he was drafted, Sam was eventually released by the Rams and later played for the Dallas Cowboys but they also released him. Sam agreed to a two-year deal with the Alouettes this summer. Hopefully Sam’s decision to step away from football allows him to perform well once he gets back on the field, and maybe return to the NFL some day.