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Michael Sam Signs With Montreal In The Canadian Football League

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The first out gay player drafted into the NFL will get another shot at football in Canada’s professional league.

Michael Sam Signs With Montreal In The Canadian Football League

Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

Michael Sam attends the SEC Championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Missouri Tigers at the Georgia Dome on December 6, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Michael Sam, the first out gay player drafted into the NFL, has signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. Sam’s career in the NFL ended in 2014 after two short stints with the St. Louis Rams and the Dallas Cowboys.

Sam reached a two-year deal with the Alouettes on Friday, according to a news release from the team.

“With the signing of Michael Sam, we have become a better organization today,” Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said. “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.”

Sam was cut by the St. Louis Rams, the team that drafted him, in August. That came as a surprise after a preseason where Sam finished among team leaders in sacks, tackles, and snaps.

A couple days later, the Dallas Cowboys signed Sam to their practice squad. But the Cowboys ultimately released him in October, and Sam hasn’t been picked up by another NFL team since then.

In March, Sam participated in the NFL’s first veteran combine and posted disappointing results, running the 40-yard-dash in unofficial times of 5.07 seconds and 5.10 — much slower than his recorded times of 4.91 at the combine in Indianapolis last year.

“I did my best,” Sam told reporters after the workout. “I am very confident that I will be playing football this year … somewhere.”

He’s recently coming off a short stint on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” franchise, where his final performance was set to “Not My Father’s Son” from the Broadway musical “Kinky Boots” — .

Michael Sam Signs With Montreal In The Canadian Football League

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Sam (center) attends the premiere of ABC’s ‘Dancing With The Stars’ season 20.

Sam will be available for a press conference Tuesday morning in Montreal. On Wednesday, Sam will join other first-year players in the Alouettes organization at Bishop’s University.

The Alouettes finished second in the CFL’s East Division last season and lost to Hamilton in the second round of the playoffs.

“I am very excited and proud to join the Montreal Alouettes,” Sam said in a written statement. “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.”

If Sam performs well in the CFL this season, it would possibly open the door for another opportunity in the NFL. Every year, a number of CFL standouts sign contracts with the NFL at the end of the season. And clearly, Sam hasn’t abandoned his goal of playing in the NFL — his Twitter handle is still @MichaelSamNFL.

At the University of Missouri, Sam revealed his sexual orientation to his college teammates and friends long before deciding to tell national media outlets. He went on to finish his college career as one of the most decorated players in school history.

Sam ended his senior season as the SEC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year and made a number of All-American teams. Many league analysts had predicted Sam would be drafted somewhere in the first four rounds.

Instead, Sam lasted until the 249th pick in the draft — only seven players were selected after him. Explanations for his precipitous drop went from size — at 6-foot-2-inches and 260 pounds, Sam was too slow for linebacker and too small for the line — to homophobia to NFL teams’ reluctance about dealing with media scrutiny of an out gay player. In an interview with GQ in 2014, Sam admitted thinking to himself, “Maybe the NFL wasn’t ready for a gay player, after all.”