Michael Sam's journey

Updated 5:36 PM ET, Thu August 20, 2015
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Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by the NFL, has told the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes that he is leaving the team. He tweeted Friday, August 14: "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 going to step away from the game at this time." Justin Tang/AP
Sam was selected in February as a celeb competitor on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" Season 20. He became the third contestant eliminated after dancing with partner Peta Murgatroyd to the song "I'm Not My Father's Son." Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Michael Sam speaks to reporters September 3, 2014, after practicing at the Dallas Cowboys' headquarters in Irving, Texas. Sam did not make the St. Louis Rams' final 53-man roster, but he was signed by the Cowboys to be on their practice squad. He was later waived from the team. LM Otero/AP
Sam looks on prior to the NFL preseason game between the St. Louis Rams and the Miami Dolphins on August 28, 2014. "The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I've always known," Sam tweeted after the Rams released him. "The journey continues." Joel Auerbach/Getty Images
Sam mocks Johnny Manziel's "money" celebration after sacking the Cleveland Browns quarterback during a preseason game August 23, 2014, in Cleveland. Sam, a defensive end, had three sacks in the preseason. Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Sam accepts the Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the 2014 ESPYs on July 16. "Great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself," Sam said while accepting the award, which is given to those who have shown strength in the face of adversity and stood up for their beliefs. Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Sam and his boyfriend, Vito Cammisano, kiss in San Diego after Sam was drafted on May 10, 2014. Sam was selected by the Rams in the seventh round with the 249th overall pick. Cammisano tweeted a photo of their kiss and said he was "so proud and happy." from
Sam hoists the Cotton Bowl trophy as the University of Missouri's football team is honored at halftime of a Missouri basketball game February 15, 2014, in Columbia, Missouri. Sam was instrumental in leading the Tigers to a 12-win season, an SEC Eastern Division title and a Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma State. He was named to many All-American teams, and he was selected as the SEC's co-defensive player of the year. Rich Sugg/Kansas City Star/MCT/Getty Images
Sam runs the 40-yard dash February 2, 2014, during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Sam runs onto the field January 25, 2014, before the NCAA Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. G.M. Andrews/AP
Sam reacts after Oklahoma State missed a field goal January 3, 2014, during the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Sam speaks to the media during a Cotton Bowl news conference on January 1, 2014. Brandon Wade/AP
Sam celebrates with fans November 9, 2013, after Missouri defeated the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington, Kentucky. Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Sam celebrates a sack October 19, 2013, during the first half of a game against the Florida Gators. Shane Keyser/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images
Sam returned a fumble for a touchdown October 12, 2013, against the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Georgia. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Sam and his Missouri teammates sing the school song September 21, 2013, after defeating Indiana in Bloomington, Indiana. Darron Cummings/AP