Riders’ A.C. Leonard waited for ‘quite a while’ but ‘made a decision’ not to submit urine sample for drug testing

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders/Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ defensive end A.C. Leonard tried to be patient, but his impatience has cost the talented pass rusher two game cheques.

Leonard was officially suspended for two games on Friday after it was announced that he had violated the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport drug policy.

“It’s actually pretty simple, our guys are selected for drug tests after a game — randomly — and he wasn’t able to submit a sample. If you do that it’s an automatic two-game suspension,” Dickenson said.

“He tried, he was around for quite a while and he just wasn’t able to do it. At some point he just made the decision to go home and as soon as you do that, they slap you with a two-game suspension.”

The 29-year-old Leonard did not test positive for a banned substance, but instead failed to provide a urine sample for drug testing as outlined in the joint CFL and CFLPA drug policy, which according to CCES automatically results in a two-game suspension.

“He wasn’t tested for anything because he didn’t submit a sample. There’s nothing the league can do on that, it’s an automatic two-gamer. He knew it was coming and we told him it was coming, so we’re not surprised — it’s a lesson learned,” Dickenson said.

“It was a decision he made. He told me straight up he has trouble after a game doing that. He waited around, but he got impatient. Probably should’ve waited around a little longer and just done it, but he didn’t. He made a decision to not submit the sample and as soon as you do that, it’s an automatic two-game suspension.”

The suspension is effective immediately, making him ineligible for the Banjo Bowl on Saturday and Week 7 against the Toronto Argonauts. Leonard was randomly selected for drug testing following the Riders Labour Day Classic loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“He’s disappointed and we are as well, but it is what it is. We gotta move on and play well without him for the next couple weeks. He’ll be tough to replace,” Dickenson said.

Leonard will be badly missed along a relatively young Saskatchewan defensive line. He has eight tackles, three sacks, and one interception in four games this season, making him arguably the team’s best pass-rusher.

The decision will cost Leonard approximately $11,000.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.