“I’m ready to go, I’m ready to play in whichever league.” LB Darnell Sankey is ready for his next stop following XFL release



The player who has made the most tackles in the Canadian Football League (CFL) over the past two seasons may soon return to play north of the border.

Darnell Sankey is now a free agent after being released from his XFL contract earlier this week after playing with the Arlington Renegades this past spring.

The former Saskatchewan Roughrider joined Sean Kleisinger on the SportsCage on Thursday.

Sankey said with the XFL holding his rights through December and with no plans of returning.

“I kind of did it and I’m done with it.”

He added, “I knew I wasn’t going to resign to the XFL, there was no point of remaining under contract.”

The San Jose, California product said he had an amazing time in the XFL playing for the 2023 Champion Arlington Renegades, but said it was time for him to move on.

In ten games with the Renegades, Sankey had 47 tackles, including three tackles for losses along with a sack.

Signing with the Denver Broncos as undrafted after his time with the Sacramento State in 2016, Sankey would bounce around in the league before arriving in the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders in 2021 eventually signing with Saskatchewan in 2022.

Spending time in the XFL was not the same enjoyment he had when he played in the CFL.

“I just feel like I had an amazing time in the CFL, I enjoyed the game, I enjoyed being in the CFL, and you know part of me kind of misses it, I really feel I didn’t get that same satisfaction in the XFL.”

A distinguishing factor between the CFL and XFL leagues is the location of their teams. CFL teams are based in their hometowns, while all XFL teams praticed in North Texas before travelling to their designated cities for games.

“I know a lot of guys feel kind of weird about that.” said Sankey

Proclaiming itself “The League of Opportunity,” the XFL has prided itself on becoming a possible springboard for players to get another shot in the NFL. Sankey said that may be true, but the CFL is on the same level as the XFL.

“They (XFL) had quite a few guys who had NFL opportunities, but in the same sense the CFL has plenty of guys with NFL opportunities and I would argue that in terms of the competition level, it’s pretty much the same.”

He also pointed out that the fanbases with some of the teams in the XFL don’t carry the same amount of passion as the CFL.

After the former CFL All-Star was released from his XFL contract, there were rumours that Sankey would wait until the midway point of the NFL preseason before deciding on his commitment for 2023. However, he clarified to Kleisinger that this statement is not entirely accurate. Sankey is currently weighing his options and is uncertain of where he will end up.

“I don’t really know what’s going to happen, the only one who knows is the man upstairs. I’m ready to go, I’m ready to play in whichever league.”

With a big decision looming, Sankey said he has spent time discussing this with family about his decision, but he knows in time, his question will be settled.

“I’m just going to pray on it and wait and see what happens.”

He expects a final decision within the next couple of weeks.

Earlier this week Saskatchewan head coach Craig Dickenson confirmed that the team would not pursue the team’s leading tackler last season.

Even though the door has been seemingly closed on a reunion with the Roughriders, Sankey appreciated the support from the fanbase and was pleasantly surprised to hear when Kleisinger told him that Sankey jerseys make a regular appearance at Mosaic Stadium.

“I appreciate the love, I always had a love for the CFL and Rider Nation.”

He may not be back in green and white, but Roughrider  and football fans across the country would surely be excited if the tackling machine is back roaming the sidelines in Canada this autumn.

More from 620 CKRM