NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Michael Sam, who made history last year as the first openly gay player selected in the NFL draft, is heading to the Canadian Football League.

The defensive end is joining the Montreal Alouettes on a two-year deal, the team announced on Friday.

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“With the signing of Michael Sam, we have become a better organization today,” Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said in a statement. “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.”

Sam came out in Feb. 2014 and was taken in the final round by the St. Louis Rams after winning the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year award at Missouri.

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The NFL still hasn’t had an openly gay athlete play a snap in the regular season. Sam was released by the Rams despite recording three preseason sacks, picked up for the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad and cut again.


The 25-year-old hoped to generate some interest at the NFL veterans combine in March. He got it — north of the border.

“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 said.

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He will be formally introduced during a press conference Tuesday in Montreal.