Montreal Alouettes GM 'very surprised' Michael Sam left team

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by NFL team, is placed on Montreal Alouettes' suspended list

Michael Sam has been placed on the Montreal Alouettes' suspended list after leaving the Canadian Football League team for unspecified personal reasons last week.

The Alouettes announced the move Monday, and it's likely a procedural action as the team prepares its roster for its June 25 season opener against Ottawa. The Alouettes opened the exhibition season Saturday with a win over Ottawa.

Alouettes General Manager Jim Popp told the Montreal Gazzette on Sunday he was surprised Sam left.

"There’s nothing to tell you. He wanted to go home, and that’s what he did,” Popp said. "I don’t know why. When a guy wants to go home, they go home. He had some personal things to take care of.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he returns. I'm surprised he left," he continued. "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.”

On Friday, the team said Sam was leaving team training camp to go home to Texas for an undisclosed reason. The team did not say when he is expected to return.

"With all due respect for Michael Sam, the nature of this decision will remain confidential," the Alouettes said in a statement. "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, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, signed a two-year contract with the Alouettes on May 22.

Before joining the Alouettes, Sam had been out of professional football since October when the Dallas Cowboys cut him from their practice squad. A former All-American defensive end at Missouri, Sam was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams.

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