The Montréal Alouettes signed a defensive end to a 2-year contract. That defensive end was interviewed on ESPN. Yes, the signing of Michael Sam is a bit different from usual football signings.
The reality is that Michael Sam is better suited for the CFL based on his on-field game. Given the off-field reasons why so many care, Montréal is the perfect place for him.
Michael Sam and Jackie Robinson may or may not be an apt analogy, but the Montréal connection between the two breakthroughs can't be completely overlooked. At the end of the day, the Alouettes are just hoping that Michael Sam can give them some help with the pass rush.
"I'm so excited to get back on the football field and get back to work," Sam said in a press conference this week.
Sam's effectiveness in convincing people that a gay athlete in a team sport is just another athlete will come on the field. Robinson had to prove himself on the field for the Montréal Royals in 1946.
The Jackie Robinson story in Montréal is also about how warmly he was received. The city has laid out a similarly warm welcome to Michael Sam.
Like Robinson, Sam may move on if things go well for the Alouettes. Or he might find his on-field style is better suited to stay in the CFL.
Doug Flutie might be the better analogy for Sam. Both players were determined not to be suited for the NFL because of size issues. Flutie proved them wrong by going to the CFL.
Chad Johnson, one of Sam's new teammates, can help guide Sam on how to deal with the spotlight and adjusting to Canada. They can also reminisce about their days on "Dancing with the Stars." The Alouettes might set a professional football record for the most "Dancing with the Stars" alumni on the field.
Michael Sam may fall in love with Montréal as a place to live. The Texas native will discover that Montréal is among the most gay-friendly cities in North America, especially with Le Village, aka the Gay Village, east of downtown.
ESPN2 is scheduled to carry Sam's first regular season game for Montréal. Even though a few more U.S. eyeballs will be glued to the Alouettes, hopefully they will come away more with praise for the CFL than wondering about who Sam spends his time with off the field.
photo credit: Globe and Mail