Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by the CFL, tweeted on Friday that he would be stepping away from football due to his concerns for his mental health.


Sam was drafted by the Montreal Alouettes on May 22 and became the first openly gay player to be drafted in CFL history.

After failing to get signed in the NFL, Sam joined with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League on May 22. Sam made his CFL debut on Aug. 7 after sitting out of the team’s first five games, although he didn’t make a tackle in that game.

He had previously left the Alouettes training camp on June 12 for personal reasons, but returned on June 26. “The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health,” Sam tweeted. “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.”

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