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Michael Sam quits football due to mental health concerns

By Micah Sulit

Just a week after making his professional football debut in the Canadian Football League, Michael Sam has announced on Twitter that he will be taking a break from the sport.

Sam, 25, is widely known for being the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, but he was cut by both the St. Louis Rams and the Dallas Cowboys. He signed a two-year deal with the Montreal Alouettes this summer and became the first openly gay player in the CFL when he played sparingly for the Alouettes in their August 7 match against the Ottawa Redblacks.

2014 NFL Combine

Speaking to ESPN, Cyd Ziegler of Outsports said, “I don’t think anybody can fully understand what Michael’s been through in the last 18 months. When you decide to be a trailblazer, sometimes that trail gets awfully bumpy and you know, over the last few months Michael’s gone through a lot of personal issues.”

Ziegler added, “Michael needs some time away from football and I think that’s pretty clear.”

According to Reuters, the Alouettes’ website said that Sam had left the team for personal reasons. He has been added to the team’s list of suspended players.