Dickenson: A.C. Leonard tried to provide urine sample for four hours, Riders ‘forgive him’ for suspension

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders/Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head coach Craig Dickenson told the media on Monday that defensive end A.C. Leonard tried unsuccessfully to provide a urine sample for four hours following the Labour Day Classic on Sept. 5.

“He was having trouble providing a sample and he was getting agitated about it,” said Dickenson via videoconference. “When I talked to him he was good and he was probably still there until 11 o’clock at night still trying. At some point he just gave up and said, ‘That’s enough.'”

Leonard was suspended for two games after failing to provide a sample for drug testing as outlined in the joint CFL and CFLPA policy. He has missed Saskatchewan’s last two games and will sit out one more after an additional one-game suspension was levied for “verbal abuse and unacceptable behaviour” towards doping control officers.

When asked if Leonard was unable or unwilling to provide a sample, Dickenson suggested that both may have been a factor.

“I don’t honestly know. I think it’s a little bit of both. Definitely unable, then maybe after a while just got frustrated and made a snap decision I’m sure he’d like to have back. We forgive him and we’re ready to move on,” said the second-year head coach.

Dickenson did not elaborate on the type of behaviour Leonard exhibited to draw a second suspension from the league.

Leonard will not have to provide a sample before returning to the field in Week 9, but will be tested more frequently in the future due to having a strike on his record. As per the league’s drug policy, the failure to provide a sample for testing is treated the same as a failed test.

This is the 29-year-old’s sixth season in the CFL and fourth as a member of the Riders. He played in 17 games in 2019, collecting 44 defensive tackles, 10 tackles for loss, nine quarterback sacks and three forced fumbles.

He remains arguably Saskatchewan’s best pass-rusher, recording eight tackles, three sacks, and one interception through four games this year.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.