Michael Sam is stepping away from football to focus on personal issues. The athlete, who recently signed a two-year deal with the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes, shared the news on Twitter Friday night.

"The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health. Because of this I am going to step away from the game at this time. I thank the Alouettes for this opportunity and hope to be back on the field soon," Sam wrote. "Thank you all for your understanding and support."

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The 25-year-old, who was the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, left the Alouettes training camp in June for personal reasons, The Associated Press reports. He missed the team's first five games in addition to their Thursday night game against Edmonton, citing a sore back. The previous week, Sam made his Alouettes debut, but failed to register any tackles.