Friday June 12th, 2015

Michael Sam has left the Montreal Alouettes training camp due to personal reasons, the Canadian Football League team announced Friday. 

The Alouettes said Sam asked for special permission to leave and return home on Friday morning. In a statement, Montreal said it fully respects Sam's decision, adding “we rally around him to offer all the support needed. The team has left the door open and Michael is welcome to come back whenever he feels ready.”

Sam signed a contract with the Alouettes on May 22. At the time, the defensive end said he “cannot wait to put on the pads, get back on the field and work hard each and every day with my teammates to bring a Grey Cup to the great fans here in Montreal.”

The 25-year-old Sam had been a free agent since being released from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad last October.

Sam became the first openly gay player selected in the NFL draft when the St. Louis Rams chose him in the seventh round in 2014. The Rams cut Sam at the end of training camp after he made three sacks during the preseason.

- Molly Geary

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