Michael Sam: ‘I’m Just Here to Play Football’

Michael Sam, Jim Popp
The Associated Press

Michael Sam came out to the media as a Montreal Alouette on Monday.

“I’m just here to play football,” Sam told the media in Montreal. “I’m not trying to really do anything historic here by being with Montreal. I’m just trying to help the team win some games so that we can bring the Grey Cup back home.”

Sam follows Brandon Browner, Cameron Wake, Joe Theismann, and other American football players who traveled north to gain a second look by the NFL. His CFL coming out party, with a focus on football, came across as more subdued than the media splash surrounding the NFL Draft last year, when Sam appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, garnered praise from the president, began filming a reality-television show for Oprah Winfrey, and smeared cake on his boyfriend’s face live on ESPN.

“My size fits as a pass-rusher,” Sam noted. “I led [the St. Louis Rams] in pre-season in sacks and that was in the NFL, so I’m a pass-rusher. Doesn’t matter where I’m at.”

At just 6’2” and 260 pounds, Sam faces questions surrounding his size and his athleticism. He ran a 4.99 forty at the first-ever NFL veteran combine earlier this year and measured a 26-inch vertical leap at the rookie combine a year earlier. Too slow to stand up, too small to start fingers-down on the line, Sam appears as a classic tweener in search of a position.

Regardless of where he plays on the field, he at least now has a field to play on.

“I decided to come to Canada…when I figured out I wasn’t going to be in an NFL camp,” Sam told reporters. “Montreal had my rights.”

The Alouettes finished last season at a mediocre 9-9. They last won a Grey Cup, an event whose origins predate the Super Bowl by nearly six decades, in 2010.