MTL signs Michael Sam

Popp really likes to get his team onto the headlines

[url=] ... -alouettes[/url] Staff

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Alouettes announced Friday that they have signed former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam who will join the team for rookie camp next week.

Sam, 25, was originally drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft after a stellar senior season at Missouri in which he was earned All-American honours and was named Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

Considered somewhat of an NFL ‘tweener’ by some south of the border – undersized for a defensive end but too slow to play linebacker – he was cut at the end of training camp before landing on the Dallas Cowboys’ practice roster in September.

Just over a month later on Oct. 21, 2014, Sam was waived by the Cowboys and once again an NFL free agent.

With the Alouettes holding Sam’s negotiation rights and General Manager Jim Popp publicly welcoming Sam to the CFL if interested, talks of him arriving in Canada picked up. While the front remained quiet throughout most of the CFL off-season, Popp told the Montreal Gazette late in March that he felt the Alouettes had a 50/50 chance of landing the talented free agent defender.

The Als’ veteran GM has maintained through various media that Sam would not only be welcome in the CFL, but his style of play would be a strong fit for the Canadian game.

At six-foot-two, 261 pounds, Sam projects to be a CFL defensive lineman for the Alouettes. He’ll join a defensive line that includes veterans John Bowman, Gabriel Knapton, Aaron Lavarias, Khalif Mitchell, Alan-Michael Cash and Scott Paxson, among others.

The Alouettes owned the CFL’s fourth-best defence last season while ranking third in the league with 51 sacks.

Don't think it's about headlines, it's about making the team better.

He sounds like he might be a monster D player for them as he seems to have a rush end's body and ability. We'll see how this works out soon. :slight_smile:

I wonder how the Holocaust denying, Human rights stomping Kahlif Mitchell feels about this? :expressionless:

And, I don't think he's in the headlines, across the CFL this morning, because of a belief that he'll make the Alouettes' team better. Now, it may turn out that he accomplishes that, but can you think of a comparable situation where a player, among the final 10 draftees in the previous year's NFL Draft, who then didn't succeed in making an NFL team, was given headline status by the national sports media and even the league itself upon signing a CFL contract?

Definitely the headlines are due to his sexual orientation. If he does well I hope this gives the other (closeted) gay players in the league the courage to come out. :slight_smile:

Any success he has will be a huge boost for many young athletes who struggle with their sexual orientation and fear coming out to their teammates.

Outsports (a website about gays and homophobia in sports) compares this to Warren Moon if he succeeds here and then moves to the NFL.

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Michael Sam has signed a contract to play for the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League this season. Barring injury, Sam will take his first regular-season professional football snaps when the Alouettes play host to the Ottawa Redblacks on June 25. It is the opening kick-off game for the 2015 CFL season and will be broadcast nationally in Canada.

That game may get more attention in the United States than any CFL game outside of the Grey Cup.

Sam was the first NFL prospect to ever come out publicly as gay, and he was the first publicly out gay man to play an NFL preseason game. An NFL active roster spot, however, has so far eluded him.

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

He will wear No. 94 for the Alouettes.

Every expectation is that Sam will play extensively for the Alouettes this season and has the potential to move into a starting position quickly for the team.

While many hoped Sam would take his first regular-season professional football snap in the NFL, no team has been willing to sign him other than the St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys. Both teams cut him last season. Instead, he will follow in the footsteps of another trailblazer - Warren Moon - who spent five years in the CFL before any NFL teams would take a "chance" on a black quarterback. Moon is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"I am very excited and proud to join the Montreal Alouettes and want to thank team Owner Robert Wetenhall, General Manager Jim Popp and Head Coach Tom Higgins for this opportunity," Sam said via the Alouettes. "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.

Sam brings a pedigree rivaled by few CFL recruits. He was the Defensive Player of the Year in the SEC, which some say equals the CFL in football talent. In the Cotton Bowl his senior season with the Missouri Tigers, Sam forced the game-clinching fumble. In the preseason with the Rams, Sam was top-five in the NFL (and No. 1 on his team) in sacks and was second on the Rams in tackles.

If Sam is able to perform well in the CFL this season, NFL teams will need to give him a second look. Various CFL players are signed to NFL futures contracts at the end of every year.

The Alouettes finished second in the East Division last season and lost to Hamilton in the second round of the playoffs. Last year's Alouettes sacks leader, John Bowman, recorded 12 sacks (the league best was 15) in 18 games. Montreal last won the Grey Cup in 2010.

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Great Simpsons line quoted by @CliffyD "Canada: We don’t care who you marry as long as you both watch hockey.? #CFL

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This site is missing the obvious HA HA emoticon. :lol:

Welcome to the CFL and Montreal Michael Sam, I think it's great.

Montreal have done a great job this year in going after good players and it will be interesting to see how they perform against the other teams in the east and the CFL.

The Eastern division this year I'm sure will not be kicked around by the West like last season, all the teams in the east have made good trades and acquired good players in this offseason and it should be a great year ahead!


A hefty CFL contract. It is 1+1@team option(It must be a 1+1 because he is a first year signing)

"According to a source close to Sam, his contract is for two years. He will earn $100,000 in 2015 and $150,000 in his second year."

A good read here

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For his own sake, I hope Sam is approaching this opportunity with a bit more humility. The CFL scrapheaps are littered with young Americans who figured on becoming stars up here in the minors to pave their way to a quick return to the promised land - but they overlooked the technicality of having to actually make the team first.

agreed. well maybe both but he definitely will be a impact player

No matter what you think about this guy we better have somebody real good to cover him. :wink:

I really can't believe the media's love affair with this story. It's now been announced that Sam's airport media conference, upon his landing in Montreal, will be telecast across the country on TSN2. (Tuesday, 11 a.m.) :roll:

Its a Big Signing the guy is gonna be a Beast up here never mind his 7th round pick NFL are lame for passing by him so many times just for the fact hes gay.

curious statement?! Didn't they have the first black qb in the NFL long before WM?

I don't care at all about his personal life. He appears to be a good football player. How he does in Montreal remains to be seen. Maybe he'll be great. The contract is pretty high for a rookie, so Popp et al must have high expectations. But welcome to the CFL to Mr Sam. I hope the Ticats play well against him.

Looks like that's all he will be in the CFL, a rookie. He's here for 6 months and likely back in the NFL

Sam has a rare pedigree for a CFL signee, at least one who's not arriving washed-up. He was the Southeastern Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year just two years ago. He was an NFL draft pick.

The Canadian game suits him well, too. There are three downs instead of four, leading to more pass attempts. Defensive players must start a yard off the ball, which will help Sam utilize his initial quickness and hands. He can probably drop some of the weight he'd packed on as well.

"In our league, it's a lot of one-on-one pass rush opportunities," Calgary Stampeders assistant general manager John Murphy told USA TODAY Sports. "He's in the prime of his career. That guy's coming up and playing against some guys who might have a little more tread on their tire."

But all that is also the catch if a stint in an inferior league is needed to convince Sam's doubters in the NFL – and he clearly has a lot of them – that he's worth another look.

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As the first non-washedup player of North American professional team sports to share that he is gay, he is a major media story; ideally he wouldn't be because it wouldn't be shocking/surprising/contentious to so many, but it is.

If some unknown, 5:00 TOI, 13th forward on a NHL team shared that he was a gay he would be the biggest media draw in every city the first couple of times around the league, even if he played with Sidney Crosby or PK Subban.

There were black QBs who played, but I think Moon was the first that a NFL team committed to as their starter long-term.