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The NFL's first openly gay player is stepping away from football due to mental health reasons

Michael Sam has announced he will leave the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes once again.

Michael Sam: no longer in the NFL.
Michael Sam: no longer in the NFL.

HAVING PREVIOUSLY LEFT the Montreal Alouettes for “personal reasons” in June, defensive end Michael Sam has decided to step away once again.

Citing mental health reasons, Sam - the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL Draft – announced he would leave the Canadian Football League (CFL) team on Friday, although he hopes to return to action soon.

“The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health,” Sam wrote on Twitter. ”Because of this I am 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 you all for your understanding and support.”

Sam – a former SEC Defensive Player of the Year – signed a two-year deal with Montreal in May.

After getting selected by the St Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 draft, Sam was released prior to the start of the season.

Sam then spent seven weeks on the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys before being released again. The Alouettes later confirmed Sam’s departure and, per CFL rules, placed him on the suspended list.

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