Michael Sam, the first openly gay man to be drafted into the National Football League, has signed a two-year deal with the Montreal Alouettes, reports the Associated Press.
After being drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 draft, Sam was cut from that team in August. He was subsequently picked up for the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys in September, but was released from that team without seeing any game time in October.
Since then, Sam has been a free agent, and observers have been speculating about whether Sam would find a place in the NFL -- which has yet to see an openly gay player take the field -- or would migrate north to the Canadian Football League. The Alouettes play in the league's East Division.
"With the signing of Michael Sam, we have become a better organization today. 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," said Alouiettes general manager Jim Popp in a statement.
The Alouettes also welcomed their newest defensive end to the team with a tweet:
The 25-year-old thanked the Alouettes' ownership and management for the opportunity to play professional football, saying "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."
He echoed that sentiment in a tweet shared shortly after the news broke Friday morning:
Sam made history when he came out as gay shortly before last year's draft, after he had been named an All-American defensive lineman at the University of Missouri.