On the eve of his team's exhibition opener against the Ottawa Redblacks, defensive end Michael Sam has left Montreal Alouettes training camp for personal reasons, the Canadian Football League team announced in a statement Friday.
Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, previously spent time with the St. Louis Rams, who released him last preseason, and the Dallas Cowboys as a member of their practice squad before being let go. He signed with the Alouettes in May.
"The Montreal Alouettes organization would like to clarify the situation surrounding international defensive end Michael Sam," the team said in a statement. "Friday morning, Michael asked the team a special permission to leave training camp and return home for personal reasons.
"The Montreal Alouettes fully respect Michael Sam's decision and rally around him to offer him all time and support needed. The team has left the door open and Michael is welcome to come back whenever he feels ready."
Sam was named 2013 SEC defensive player of the year for Missouri. He was drafted in the seventh round by the Rams in 2014.