Michael Sam, 1st openly gay player in NFL draft, stepping away from football, he says; '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 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' - @MichaelSamNFL
Michael Sam thanks Dallas Cowboys, fans 'for this opportunity' after being cut by practice squad; 'While this is disappointing, I will take the lessons I learned here in Dallas and continue to fight for an opportunity to prove that I can play every Sunday' - @USATODAY
Editor's note: Following his release from the St. Louis Rams, Michael Sam released the following statement via Twitter: ‘I want to thank the entire Rams organization and the city of St. Louis for giving me this tremendous opportunity and allowing me to show I can play at this level. I look forward to continuing to build on the progress I made here toward a long and successful career. The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I've always known. The journey continues.’ - Jimmy
Michael Alan Sam, Jr. (born January 7, 1990) is an American professional gridiron football defensive end who is a free agent. He played college football for the University of Missouri and was drafted by the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League (NFL) in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Sam was a consensus All-American and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at Missouri. After completing his college football career, Sam publicly came out as gay. He became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. The Rams cut him at the end of training camp. He also spent time on the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad before being waived. He signed with the Alouettes before the 2015 season, and also became the first publicly gay player to play in the CFL.