Dickenson: Riders ‘haven’t had a whole lot of luck convincing’ L.J. McCray to play in 2021

Photo courtesy: CFL

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are currently without defensive back L.J. McCray and head coach Craig Dickenson revealed why on Sunday.

“L.J.’s got some stuff going on and we haven’t had a whole lot of luck convincing him to come up just yet, so that’s why he’s suspended,” said Dickenson in a videoconference. “He’s got some things he’s dealing with right now. Personal things — nothing that’s all that bad, but stuff that he needed to take care of.”

McCray was one of ten players suspended by the team last weekend after players were supposed to arrive in Regina to begin a one-week quarantine ahead of training camp.

“Coming up and playing football just wasn’t in the cards for him right now so we suspended him and we hope his situation changes,” said Dickenson.

The Riders gave a subtle indication that McCray may not report in 2021 before training camp even began. First-round draft pick Nelson Lokombo was assigned No. 21 for his rookie season, which is the same number McCray wore in 2019.

The Riders signed McCray to a one-year contract extension in January 2021.

The six-foot, 210-pound defender initially signed with the Riders in April 2019. He made 47 defensive tackles and three interceptions over 13 games in his initial season with the team, playing primarily at field-side cornerback.

The South Carolina native was signed by the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted NFL free agent in 2014. He made 14 tackles over two seasons before spending stints with the Carolina Panthers and the Buffalo Bills.

McCray played collegiately at Catawba College (2009-2013) where he was named First-Team All-South Atlantic Conference in 2012 after making 79 tackles and two interceptions in 11 games.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.