Three days after Michael Sam left Montreal Alouettes camp for “personal reasons,” the team officially moved the defensive lineman to the suspended list Monday morning.
— CFL (@CFL) June 15, 2015
In a statement released Friday afternoon, the Alouettes said Sam “asked a special permission to leave training camp and return home for personal reasons.”
“With all due respect for Michael Sam, the nature of this decision will remain confidential,” the statement said. “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.”
Alouettes general manager Jim Popp told the Montreal Gazette Sunday night he “didn’t know why” Sam wanted to return home.
“There’s nothing to tell you. He wanted to go home, and that’s what he did. I don’t know why. When a guy wants to go home, they go home. He had some personal things to take care of," Popp said.
"I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns. I’m surprised he left. I was very surprised. If he doesn’t come back, I would think football’s over for him. He’s the one that has to face that. But I don’t think he doesn’t want to play football. That’s why he came here.”
Additionally, the Gazette cited two sources who made it sound like Sam’s return to the team is unlikely.
While general manager Jim Popp says the door remains open for his return, another source within the organization virtually guaranteed the likelihood of that happening is non-existent. The source also chided Sam for appearing on the reality TV series Dancing With the Stars instead of preparing for the coming season.
Another team source said Sam may have simply overreacted to a comment that was made to him by another player.
“All I know is I heard somebody made a comment about him, about how he wasn’t very good and wasn’t having a very good camp. He took it personally and was pouting in his room,” the source said. “It’s very strange. I have no idea what’s going on. He might have a personal issue.”
Sam, who became the first openly gay player ever drafted into the NFL when the St. Louis Rams chose him in the seventh round in 2014, signed with Montreal on May 22. After the Rams cut him, Sam spent much of the 2014 season on the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad.
Sam reportedly started slowly with his adjustment to Canadian rules and was working with the third-team defense. However, the Gazette said in a previous report that he was slowly improving.
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