Michael Sam, Citing Mental Health, Quits CFL

Michael Sam
The Associated Press

Michael Sam announced a leave from football on Friday night. The Montreal Alouettes player cited pressures over the last year adversely impacting his mental well-being.

Ironically, Sam’s most devoted hype men, particularly considering his reference to “mental health” problems over the last year, may have doomed the talented college player’s chances in the pros by putting the spotlight, and the pressure that comes with it, on the unathletic but instinctively sound pass rusher.

The St. Louis Rams drafted him in the seventh round last year after boosters for the openly-gay player imagined the SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year going on the second day of the draft. Despite registering three quarterback sacks in the preseason, the Rams cut him. The Cowboys, who signed Sam to their taxi squad, did likewise during the season.

A horrible showing at the first-ever veteran combine closed the door on any hope Sam harbored about making an NFL roster, forcing the move to the Great White North. But Sam’s brief tenure on the Montreal Alouettes saw the defensive end make a rush for the airport in June before telling his coach. When he finally made his debut last week, he neither impressed nor showed up on the stat sheet.

With Tim Tebow in camp with the Philadelphia Eagles and not in front of an ESPN camera, the well-spoken Sam might look to snare Tebow’s old job and break down games in his old conference as opportunities on the field now appear non existent.