Michael Sam has announced that he’s taking a break from football.
“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 said on Friday via his official Twitter account.
The Montreal Alouettes defensive end added: “The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health.”
Sam was the first openly gay player to be drafted when the St. Louis Rams chose him in round seven of the 2014 NFL draft. After being cut from the Rams he spent part of the year on the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad before signing with Montreal.
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The 25-year-old athlete set another precedent when he became the first openly gay player in the Canadian Football League. Sam signed a two-year contract with the Alouettes in May and made his regular season debut in early August.