The candle may be burning out on Michael Sam's football career. The history-making athlete, who last year made history as the first openly-gay player to be drafted by the NFL, announced on Twitter that he's "going to step away" from professional sports for a while. Sam sites the stress of the past year and its impact on his mental health as the reason for his departure.
“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 amgoing 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,” he tweeted.
Indeed, after a big start to his career it's been a bumpy road for the trailblazing athlete. Earlier this year, he signed with the CFL's Alouettes after being cut by the two NFL teams — the St. Louis Rams, which drafted him after his stellar college career with the University of Missouri, and the Dallas Cowboys.
The defensive end sat out the Alouettes’ first five games this summer, and even left the team for two weeks in June to go home to Dallas for personal reasons, but made his debut with the team August 7, saying he was fully committed to his career.
Sadly, the online trolling has already begun, with some clowning Sam for quitting professional sports after starting his career with so much hype, and others taking decidedly homophobic jabs at the defensive end.
Analysts and insiders are speculating that a return to football is highly unlikely for Sam. Hopefully he'll find some peace off the field while he focuses on his next move.
Watch: Elle Varner, Eva Macille and Naturi Naughton talk being allies to the LGBT community in the video below.
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(Photo: L.G. Patterson/AP Photo)