The most prominent active football player to declare publicly that he is gay is set to make his professional football debut tonight in Ottawa, as Michael Sam and the Montreal Alouettes visit the Ottawa Redblacks.Sam, 25, is a backup defensive end for the Alouettes who did not play in the team’s first five games. A tweet from the team on Friday morning listed him as active for the game against the Redblacks, and he’s expected to play. Originally drafted by the NFL’s St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Sam could not find a job in the U.S. after last season.
Before the CFL’s 2015 season began, he signed a two-year contract with the Alouettes. However, the transition to Canadian football did not come easy for Sam. He returned home in June for personal reasons before being suspended by the team.Sam then returned in late June and he has practiced with the Alouettes hoping to get on the field. A series of injuries to Montreal’s defence has now given Sam that opportunity.