Michael Sam Leaves Football to Focus on His 'Mental Health'

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Michael Sam
is leaving football.

The 25-year-old defensive end, who made history in 2014 as the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL, announced the news on his Twitter on Friday.

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“The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health,” he wrote in a series of tweets. “Because of this I am going to step away from the game at this time.”

Earlier this summer, Sam signed a two-year deal with the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes and made his debut on Aug. 7, though he did not play in the team’s most recent game.

“I thank the Alouettes for this opportunity and hope to be back on the field soon,” the former Dancing With the Stars contestant continued. “Thank you all for your understanding and support.”

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Sam was drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams, but ultimately did not make the team. He later signed with the Dallas Cowboys, spending time on their practice squad.

It’s been a tough few months for Sam, who in July called off his engagement to Vito Cammisano, with whom he famously shared a kiss when drafted by the Rams.

Back in 2014, Sam gave a moving speech at the ESPY Awards when he accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Relive the moment below.