Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted into the National Football League (NFL), on Friday said that he was taking a break from football.

The 25-year-old Sam began the season with the Canadian Football League's (CFL) Montreal Alouettes.

In a series of tweets, Sam cited a tumultuous year in announcing his decision.

“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. Thank you for your understanding and support,” he messaged.

Appearing on ESPN, Cyd Zeigler of Outsports.com explained that becoming a trailblazer had taken its toll on Sam.

“Over the last few months, Michael's gone through a lot of personal issues, ending an engagement to his fiance and having to leave the Alouettes previously to deal with some personal issues back home. I just think Michael stresses a lot. And he talked about mental health in his tweet today. And I think we need to take that seriously,” he said.