Riders DT Micah Johnson not participating in practice Thursday

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saskatchewan Roughriders training camp rolls one, but one important player won’t be suite up Thursday.

Derek Taylor of the Sportscage reports that star defensive tackle Micah Johnson is not in pads, instead helping set up defensive line drills with the coaches.

It is currently unclear whether the veteran is banged up or simply taking a maintenance day as is commonly afforded players of his status.

The 32-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Riders in February, returning to the club after signing with the B.C. Lions ahead of the canceled 2020 campaign.

In 2019, the Riders made Johnson the highest paid defensive player in the CFL at the time. He recorded 26 tackles and four sacks in 15 games during his first year in green and white.

Even though Johnson had a lower sack total than expected in his first season in Saskatchewan, advanced analytics in the football operations department displayed clear data. Johnson was doubled teamed on over 80 percent of the snaps while on the field for the Riders.

Johnson was a CFL all-star in 2018 producing 28 tackles, 14 quarterback takedowns — second most in the league — with three forced fumbles and one interception. That’s how he became known as the most disruptive inside force in the CFL.

Through six seasons with the Calgary Stampeders, Johnson recorded 158 tackles, 41 sacks, six forced fumbles and two interceptions. Johnson turned down more than $200,000 from the Stamps to hit the open market and eventually switch to Saskatchewan.

Prior to coming north of the border, Johnson went unselected in the 2010 NFL draft. He spent his rookie training camp with the Miami Dolphins and made five tackles with 1.5 sacks in four pre-season contests. During Johnson’s NFL debut with the Dolphins he made one tackle. After stints on the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals practice squads, Johnson signed with Calgary in 2013.