Michael Sam has endured a roller coaster past twelve months as he bids to take the next step on the footballing ladder.
It looked for a while like he would become the NFL's first openly gay player when he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the class of 2014. Ultimately, though, Sam's spell on the Rams roster ended in disappointed and, after a brief time with the Dallas Cowboys came to an end, his future in the game looked uncertain.
Things took a positive turn today though when Canadian Football League franchise the Montreal Alouettes announced his signing, and Sam has commented on the move since.
The former SEC Defensive Player of the Year has been linked to a move north of the U.S. border after it became increasingly clear that no NFL team were willing to offer him a contract in the near future.
Since seeing his NFL dreams dashed by the Rams and Cowboys some have suggested that Sam's open sexuality may have led to other franchises passing on him. Others though have claimed that the 6' 2" talent doesn't have the required speed or size to make it as an NFL pass rusher - defensive end being his preferred position.
Either way, the Alouttes have taken a chance on Sam today and General Manager Jim Popp is delighted with the acquisition:
"With the signing of Michael Sam, we have become a better organization today," Popp said on the CFL team's official website.
"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."
Chance to impress
Michael Sam's Montreal deal is for two years and NFL scouts will undoubtedly have one eye on events in Canada over the next couple of seasons. If the Mizzou talent can impress there then he will do his chances of fulfilling his NFL ambition no harm at all.
After all the off the field talk that has surrounded his past 12 months or so, Sam will most likely simply be happy to get back on the gridiron.
NFL fans: Do you think Michael Sam will ever get a deal in the NFL? Let us know in the comments section below...