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Sam takes personal leave from CFL team

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Defensive end Michael Sam left the Montreal Alouettes for personal reasons, the Canadian Football League team announced Friday.

Sam, who signed in May with the Alouettes, was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team when he was selected by the St. Louis Rams last year. He was released by the Rams during the preseason and later picked up and let go by the Dallas Cowboys.

“The Montreal Alouettes’ organization would like to clarify the situation surrounding international defensive end Michael Sam,” the team said in a statement. “Friday morning, Michael asked the team a special permission to leave training camp and return home for personal reasons.

“The Montreal Alouettes fully respect Michael Sam’s decision and rally around him to offer him all time and support needed. The team has left the door open and Michael is welcome to come back whenever he feels ready.”

Sam’s departure surprised Alouettes coach Tom Higgins. Montreal opens its preseason schedule on Saturday.

“This surprises me right now,” Higgins told the Montreal Gazette. “I thought he would have been out here.”

Sam also missed Thursday’s practice because of what his agent, Joe Barkett, said was a migraine headache.


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