Michael Sam quits football: Michael Sam Quits

Published: August 15, 2015

Michael Sam quits football: Michael Sam Quits, For the second time in three months, rookie rush-end Michael Sam has left the Alouettes for personal reasons.

Sam, 25, issued a statement on Twitter Friday night announcing his decision:

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 1/3

— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 14, 2015

going to step away from the game at this time. I thank the Alouettes for this opportunity and hope to be back on the field soon. Thank 2/3

— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 14, 2015

you all for your understanding and support. 3/3

— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 14, 2015

Sam, the first openly-gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, left for personal reasons last June, barely two weeks into training camp and on the eve of the Als’ opening exhibition game. He returned two weeks later and was allowed to play himself back into shape.

The 6-foot-2, 260-pounder made his Canadian Football League debut last week on the road against the Ottawa Redblacks. He was used sparingly and was on the field for 12 plays, failing to register a statistic.

According to head coach Tom Higgins, Sam was scheduled to play a second consecutive game, Thursday night at Molson Stadium against the Edmonton Eskimos. But during Tuesday’s final practice of the week before the game, he limped off the field. The team announced Sam suffered a back injury and had been placed on the one-game injured list.

Unlike other injured players, Sam was conspicuous by his absence during the game against Edmonton. Following the game, Higgins claimed he didn’t know where Sam was, nor why he had not attended the game. But Higgins quickly stated it’s not mandatory for injured players to be on the sideline during a match.

Reached in Atlanta Friday morning, where he’s scouting NFL training camps and exhibition games, Als general manager Jim Popp also claimed to be in the dark, stating he hadn’t spoken to anyone else in the organization about Sam.

In a text message to the Montreal Gazette Friday night, Popp stated: “We support him, thank him for his hard work and wish him well. The young man has had a lot of pressure for a while. He will bounce back.”

Sam was named the co-SEC defensive player of the year as a senior while at the University of Missouri in 2013. He was a seventh-round draft choice of the St. Louis Rams. Although he performed reasonably well in four exhibition games, Sam was released following training camp. He quickly joined the Dallas Cowboys’ practice roster, lasting about a month before being released again.

After appearing on the reality television series Dancing With the Stars this season, Sam’s signing was announced by the Als, who had placed him on their negotiation list, giving the team his exclusive CFL rights.

For the first five regular-season games, Sam was on the Als’ 46-man roster, meaning he received his regular game cheque. He was signed to a two-year contract, and was reportedly scheduled to earn $100,000 this season.


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