Michael Sam returns to Canadian team after abrupt exit

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Openly gay American football star Michael Sam has returned to his new Canadian team – after briefly quitting for “personal reasons”.

Sam made history last year when he became the first openly gay player to be drafted to the NFL – serving short stints with the St Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys, before being cut from both teams.

The football star last month announced he would move to the Canadian Football League and join the Montreal Alouettes – only to return to the US citing “personal reasons” weeks later.

Jim Popp, General Manager of the Alouettes, had said at the time: “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.”

However, amid warnings that giving up again could be the end of his playing career for good, Sam has once again returned to the Alouettes.

He assured reporters this week: “I was always coming back. I had to deal with personal matters when I was home. That’s all taken care of, so now I’m back.”

Coach Tom Higgins told ESPN: “The door was open for him to come back. [It’s the same for all players], this was just more high-profile.

“He worked some things out that he needed to settle and he came back to us a much more dedicated athlete than he was before. He wants to prove that he can play on a high level.”

He added of the media attention: “Being put in the limelight doesn’t help him with any of his teammates. He hasn’t played one down in the CFL and he gets more attention than any one of his teammates. That bothers him.”