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Riders A.C. Leonard Apologizes for Suspension, Returns to Practice

After serving a three-game ban from the CFL, Saskatchewan Roughrider A.C. Leonard has been permitted to practice with the team again.

In the wake of failing to give a urine sample to doping officials after the Labor Day Classic, the defensive end was initially banned for two games. He was subsequently given an additional one game suspension for verbally abusing those same officials.

During Tuesday’s media availability, Leonard did not go into detail, but emphasized that he was unable, not unwilling, to submit a sample.

“I literally have nothing to hide at all, and I’m willing to co-operate with the league and do whatever it takes for the rest of the season — for the rest of my career,” he said. “If I have to, I will test every week … whatever it takes.”

per CBC

Roughriders and Leonard looking forward to returning to the field

After the Riders were defeated 23-8 by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sept. 5, a dilemma arose. Leonard was chosen for drug testing at random but was unable to provide a sample. Around 2 a.m., Leonard said that he gave up and got out of there.

Leonard was well aware of the ramifications of breaking the joint drug policy of the CFL and the CFL Players’ Association. A two-game ban is automatically imposed if a sample for drug testing is not provided.

Failure to provide a sample for drug testing is considered a positive test under the joint drug policy. A two-game ban is imposed for the first offense. A nine-game penalty is imposed for the second offense, followed by a one-year suspension for the third offense. If a player tests positive for a fourth time, they’ll receive a lifetime ban.

The former Minnesota Vikings tight end will serve third and final game of his suspension when the Riders play the B.C. Lions in Vancouver.

There has been conjecture in the media that Leonard’s conduct deserved extra team sanctions. Leonard has gone through enough, according to Riders head coach Craig Dickenson, and the team is ready to move on.

When the Riders play in Calgary the following week, Dickenson confirmed Leonard will be in the lineup.

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Nick Holz
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