Former NFL DB A.J. Hendy leaves Riders due to lack of playing time

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Defensive back A.J. Hendy has left the Saskatchewan Roughriders over a dispute regarding his playing time, head coach Craig Dickenson told the media on Thursday.

Hendy appeared in eleven games with the Riders this year, recording 21 total tackles and one interception. He was the club’s opening-day starter at strong-side linebacker, but was eventually replaced by Canadians defensive backs Godfrey Onyeka and Jacob Dearborn.

“A.J. decided he didn’t want to play anymore, so he left the team,” Dickenson said while admitting he was surprised by the decision.

“We’re going to keep rolling, but it did hurt us a little bit, we didn’t want him to leave, but he felt like he should’ve been playing more and because of that he was unhappy, so we’re never going to keep a guy that’s unhappy.”

The 28-year-old signed with the Riders in May 2020 following a four-year stint with the Miami Dolphins (2016), Los Angeles Chargers (2017-18), and Houston Texans (2019). He was also a member of the New York Guardians of the XFL in 2020. He dressed for only one career NFL game and did not register a statistic.

The Riders are set to host the Calgary Stampeders in the West Semi-Final on Sunday after finishing second in the West Division with a 9-5 record. Dearborn is expected to get lots of playing time at strong-side linebacker, though American rookie Rolan Milligan started for Saskatchewan in Week 16.