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First Openly Gay NFL Player Michael Sam "Stepping Away" From Football

"The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health," Sam said Friday.

Posted on August 14, 2015, at 8:56 p.m. ET

Michael Sam, as seen while a member of the St. Louis Rams on Aug. 28, 2014.
Marc Serota / Getty Images

Michael Sam, as seen while a member of the St. Louis Rams on Aug. 28, 2014.

Michael Sam, who made history last year as the first out gay player to be drafted into the NFL, is leaving football, he announced Friday.

In a series of tweets, Sam said he was "stepping away" from the sport after a difficult 12 months that gave him concerns about his mental health.

The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health. Because of this I am 1/3

going to step away from the game at this time. I thank the Alouettes for this opportunity and hope to be back on the field soon. Thank 2/3

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you all for your understanding and support. 3/3

Sam made history last year when, as a college football star at Mizzou, publicly came out and announced plans to become the first openly gay player in the NFL. He was later drafted, then cut, by the St. Louis Rams.

Sam went on to spend seven weeks with the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad, but was never promoted to the team's 53-man roster.

In May, Sam joined the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

Welcome to Montreal Michael Sam! DETAILS -> http://t.co/SSa9jTb864 #IsItJuneYet #Alouettes

Sam had signed a two-year deal with the Canadian team. At the time he signed, he said he was excited and couldn't "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."

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