Michael Sam is back with the Montreal Aloutettes of the Canadian Football League but has been inactive for three games and it looks like the earliest he will see the field is Aug. 1.
Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette tweeted this before last Friday's game against Winnipeg.
Same two scratches as last week for #Als - @SeanWhyte6 and @MichaelSamNFL. Get used to it. Will be this way for a while.— Herb Zurkowsky (@HerbZurkowsky1) July 10, 2015
Sam, the only openly gay player in the CFL, is on the Alouettes' active roster but has been inactive on game days because he needs time to get into football shape. Sam left the team June 12 during training camp and prior to the first preseason game for personal reasons that he did not elaborate on. He came back two weeks later; so far, he has missed a total of three games.
When he came back to camp June 30, coach Tom Higgins said Sam would need three to four weeks to get into game shape. "I truly believe he didn’t come here in the best football shape," Higgins said. "I truly believe he didn’t understand what it takes to play in the CFL. You have to be able to run [the field is wider than in American football]. He feels he’s too heavy. He’ll have to watch his diet, work hard and see if he can bring his weight down."
Sam was declared inactive for Thursday's game against Hamilton. The Alouettes then have two weeks off before playing again Aug. 1 against Calgary. That would be four weeks from when Sam returned and will likely be the earliest he will suit up.
After being declared inactive last Friday, Sam posted this on Instagram with the caption ("I can't think of any other way to watch my team on a Friday night with a Cuban Cigar!!! #TGIF #cohiba #alouettes")
It's not the best optics for someone trying to get into football shape to with pose with a cigar, but then again the whole Sam CFL saga has been a bit strange: He signed with a flourish, then left with the team basically saying it has no idea why. He then came back and was accepted by the team with no hard feelings, but might have to sit a month before playing, which would mean missing almost a third of the 18-game season.
Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette some light on Sam's contract with the Alouettes:
Ever wonder why the Als quickly are becoming one of the league's most dysfunctiional franchises? Rookie rush-end Michael Sam, who returned to the team this week after requesting permission to leave for personal reasons, was on the team's 46-man roster against Calgary. Although not part of the 44 who dress, the fact he was a healthy scratch means Sam received his full game check.
Were he on the practice roster, the organization could get away with paying him several hundred dollars per week. Sam has never played a down for the team and left for two weeks. He reportedly was signed to a $100,000 contract this season. Should he return in 2016, the salary increases to $150,000. How do you think some of his teammates who are on the practice roster feel about this?
Sam has a lot to prove and the best way to do it is to finally get on the field and produce. If that happens,what has transpired the past six weeks will be forgotten.