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Michael Sam Steps Away from Football: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2015

USA Today

Following brief stints with the St. Louis Rams, Dallas Cowboys and the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes, defensive end Michael Sam is stepping away from football. 

The 25-year-old announced his decision via Twitter on Friday night: 

Michael Sam @MichaelSam52

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 @MichaelSam52

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 @MichaelSam52

you all for your understanding and support. 3/3

Samwho became the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL franchise when the Rams selected him in the seventh round of the 2014 draft—most recently suited up for the Alouettes. 

TSN's John Lu passed along a statement from the CFL franchise regarding Sam's announcement: 

John Lu @JohnLuTSNMtl

#Alouettes announcement regarding Michael Sam's departure from the team. #CFL @CFLonTSN http://t.co/9Ryiu8fcAB

Citing personal reasons, Sam left the Alouettes on June 12, according to the Associated Press (via the New York Daily News). 

The 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year returned to the Alouettes on June 30 but didn't divulge the details of his absence. 

"I was always coming back," Sam said, according to the Associated Press (via the New York Daily News). "I had to deal with personal matters when I was home. That’s all taken care of, so now I’m back."

Sam made it to the final round of cuts with the Rams last summer, but the team chose to cut him prior to the start of the 2014 season. He then signed on with the Cowboys' practice squad Sept. 3, but Dallas waived him Oct. 21.

Sam's career is on hold for the time being, but he displayed promise as a pass-rusher at Missouri, which inspired belief that he'll one day contribute on the game's biggest stage.   

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