Updated 01:25 PM EST, Fri, Feb 26, 2021

Michael Sam in CFL: First Openly Gay Football Player Signs With Montreal Alouettes

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With the lack of opportunities for him in the NFL, defensive end Michael Sam decided to move to the Canadian Football League and signed with the Montreal Alouettes.

Yahoo Sports reports the team made the announcement on Friday, noting that it was a one-year contract with an option for an additional year.

"With the signing of Michael Sam, we have become a better organization today. Not only have we added an outstanding football player, we have added even a better person that brings dignity, character, and heart to our team," Alouettes General Manager Jim Popp said.

A similar ESPN report added that the Canadian team has held the exclusive CFL rights to the first openly gay football player since his senior year at Missouri.

"I am very excited and proud to join the Montreal Alouettes. I 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," Sam told ESPN.

The team's general manager noted that the defensive end's sexuality has not been an issue for them.

"Michael Sam is a very good football player, and that's the reason we signed him. He's an outstanding pass-rusher," explained Popp.

He is expected to be introduced on Tuesday, during the team's news conference.

CNN has learned that Sam has not played for an NFL regular season game even if he spent part of the 2014 season with the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. He was unfortunately removed from the team last October.

Sam was earlier taken by the St. Louis Rams during the seventh round of the 2014 draft, but he did not officially become a part of the team. Instead, he has been a free agent since his time with the Cowboys.

Yahoo Sports expressed hope that Sam may have a good season in the CFL and prove himself worthy of playing for the NFL in the near future. Moreover, Sam's presence in the CFL is expected to "generate more interest than most signings."

"Sam has been a bit of a controversial figure, with questions if him being gay kept him from being drafted higher by NFL teams, or if it's behind him not being able to get an NFL job," added Yahoo Sports.

The defensive end certainly needs to step up his game to achieve his much-deserved break in the sport. Perhaps this CFL opportunity might just be the key for him to land a much bigger role in the NFL in the coming years. 

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