Andrew Harris
No. 33     Toronto Argonauts
2022, 33, Andrew Harris.jpg
Harris with the Argonauts in 2022
Born: (1987-04-24) April 24, 1987 (age 35)
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Career information
StatusActive
CFL statusNational
Position(s)Running back
Height5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight202 lb (92 kg)
CJFLVancouver Island Raiders
(2006-2009)
CFL draft2008 / Round: Territorial exemption
Career history
As player
20092015BC Lions
20162021Winnipeg Blue Bombers
2022–presentToronto Argonauts
Career highlights and awards
CFL All-Star2012, 20152018
CFL West All-Star2012, 20152019
AwardsWally Buono Award (2009)
CFL's Most Outstanding Canadian (2017)
Grey Cup Most Valuable Canadian (2011, 2019)
Grey Cup Most Valuable Player (2019)
CFL rushing yards leader (2017-2019)
Dr. Beattie Martin Trophy (2017, 2018)
Eddie James Memorial Trophy (2015, 2017, 2018, 2019)
Career stats
Rushing yds9038
Rushing TDs48
Receiving yds5107
Receiving TDs31

Andrew Harris (born April 24, 1987) is a Canadian professional Canadian football running back for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Harris is a three-time Grey Cup champion and was named the Most Valuable Canadian of the 99th Grey Cup following a BC Lions' win, and won both the Grey Cup Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Canadian in his Blue Bombers' 107th Grey Cup win. He is a five-time CFL All-Star and a six-time CFL West All-Star. He played for the Lions for six seasons before joining the Blue Bombers in 2016 as a free agent. As a Bomber, he was named the 2017 Most Outstanding Canadian after leading the league in rushing and setting an all-time record for single-season receptions by a running back, he is the CFL leader in career yards from scrimmage by a Canadian.[1] He played junior football for the Vancouver Island Raiders of the Canadian Junior Football League.

Junior career

Harris took the rare path to professional football by going through the junior system. Instead of joining a CIS football program after high school, he joined the Vancouver Island Raiders of the Canadian Junior Football League. During his phenomenal junior career, he led the Raiders to three national championships (2006, 2008, and 2009) and broke a number of British Columbia conference and CJFL records, including all-time touchdowns and scoring. In 2009, he was awarded the Wally Buono Award for most outstanding junior football player in Canada.[2][3]

Professional career

Harris with the Lions in 2011
Harris with the Lions in 2011

BC Lions

BC Lions head coach and general manager Wally Buono took notice of Harris's talents in junior football and claimed him as a territorial exemption in 2008. He joined the Lions practice roster in 2009, while continuing to play his final season of junior for the Raiders.

In 2010, Harris earned a spot on the Lions active roster and was primarily used on special teams in his first season. He was named the CFL's special teams player of the week on September 14, 2010.[4]

Harris began the 2011 season as the Lions' backup running back. Harris saw his role expand and he took over as the starting running back in mid-season, finishing with 853 total yards and eight touchdowns.[5][6] In the playoffs, Harris was named the Canadian player of the week for his performance in the Lions' win over the Edmonton Eskimos in the West Division Final. A week later, Harris was named the Most Outstanding Canadian at the Grey Cup, scoring a touchdown and rushing for 65 yards over 10 carries in the Lions 34–23 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.[7][8]

On December 29, 2011, Harris and the Lions agreed to a two-year contract extension, with an option for year three.[9]

Following a strong 2011 campaign, Harris became the starting running back for the 2012 CFL season. Harris continued his strong play and became the ninth Canadian running back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and the first Canadian BC Lion to rush for a 1,000 yards since Sean Millington in 2000. Fellow Canadian running back Jon Cornish also ran for 1,000 yards, marking the first time since 1956 that two Canadian running backs ran for 1,000 yards in the same season.[10] Despite seeing increased rushing attempts in the 2013 CFL season, his total yards fell short of 1000, finishing with 998. Harris added 61 pass receptions for 513 yards. Prior to the 2014 CFL season Harris and the Lions agreed to a contract extension through the 2015 CFL season.[11]

Harris's 2014 campaign was cut short by injuries, missing the final six games of the season due to injury. He finished the season with 652 yards on 122 carries (5.3 average) with two rushing touchdowns. He added 529 receiving yards on 46 catches with four touchdowns. Harris finished the 2015 CFL season with the second most rushing yards, trailing Montreal's Tyrell Sutton by 20 yards (1,059 to 1,039). He set a career-high in rushing attempts with 222, while simultaneously posting a career worst 4.7 yards per carry. Immediately following playoff elimination as a pending free-agent, Harris expressed his displeasure with the BC Lions organization, putting his future with the club in doubt.[12]

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Harris signed with his hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers as a free agent on February 9, 2016.[13] During the 2016 season Harris played in all but 3 of the regular season games for the Blue Bombers, missing some time with an ankle injury.[14] He finished the season third in the league in rushing yards, falling short of the 1,000 yard plateau by only 26 yards. In a game against the Edmonton Eskimos in 2017, Harris set a professional first by surpassing 100 yards in both rushing and receiving, netting a total of 225 yards in the game.[15] He finished the season with 1,035 rushing yards, winning his first league rushing title.[16] He also led all players with the most receptions, with 105, which was also a record for running backs, with the previous record of 102 held by Craig Ellis.[17] Harris's strong play was rewarded in May 2018 when he and the Bombers agreed to a two-year contract extension.[18] In 2018, he set a career-high for rushing yards and once again led the league in rushing with 1390 yards.

Andrew Harris with his wife (right) and Jeff Hecht at the 2019 Grey Cup parade in Winnipeg
Andrew Harris with his wife (right) and Jeff Hecht at the 2019 Grey Cup parade in Winnipeg

During the 2019 CFL season, Harris surpassed the 8,000 rushing yard mark for his career, in a game against the Argonauts at home.[19] On August 15, 2019, Harris became the all-time leader in yards from scrimmage by a Canadian player, surpassing Ben Cahoon's 13,368 yards from scrimmage.[1] In the same game, he passed Dave Thelen and entered the top ten all-time in rushing yards. Harris is the only player in league history to record over 4000 rushing yards with two different teams.[1] On August 26, 2019 Harris was suspended two games by the league for violating the CFL/CFLPA drug policy after testing positive for Metandienone.[20] In Winnipeg's final regular season game, Harris broke the record previously held by Normie Kwong for career rushing yards by a Canadian player in the CFL; the play on which he broke the record set up Winnipeg's game winning field goal over Calgary.[21]

Harris with the Blue Bombers in 2016
Harris with the Blue Bombers in 2016

Despite winning the CFL rushing title by more than 300 yards Harris was not selected as a team nominee for either Most Outstanding Player (Willie Jefferson), or Most Outstanding Canadian (Mike Miller).[22] Miller's nomination caused controversy; as mostly a special teams player, Miller's statistical output was far below Harris's. Miller was the team co-leader for special teams tackles with 25, and with only 10 yards rushing and 63 yards receiving, Miller was outgained by Harris in terms of yards from scrimmage by a combined 1,836 yards. Miller himself stated his belief that Harris was the best Canadian player on the Blue Bombers by writing, “I will accept the Canadian nomination on Andrew’s behalf, but do so reluctantly and while completely disagreeing with his omission.” Voter Ted Wyman wrote a piece stating that Harris's positive test for a banned substance prevented Wyman from giving Harris a vote.[23] Meanwhile, Bob Irving, a local radio announcer and the lone voter for Harris defended him; “I believe that a 2-game suspension, 2 missed game cheques and public embarrassment in July was punishment enough—I proudly voted for him.”[24]

Harris helped the underdog Blue Bombers win their first Grey Cup since 1990 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the 107th Grey Cup game.[25][26] He became the first ever player to win Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Canadian in Grey Cup history after he recorded 18 carries for 134 rushing yards, five catches for 35 receiving yards, and both a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown.[27] Following the win of his hometown team Harris said "I'm so proud to be a Winnipegger and I can't wait to get back and share this with all them. I just wanted to prove it to my teammates and deliver for them. Everything else, whatever. I just wanted to be the best player I could be today."[25]

Harris raises the Grey Cup at Winnipeg's 2021 Grey Cup celebration at IG Field
Harris raises the Grey Cup at Winnipeg's 2021 Grey Cup celebration at IG Field

Harris did not play in 2020 as the 2020 CFL season was cancelled. On January 15, 2021, it was announced that Harris had signed a one-year contract extension with the Blue Bombers.[28] Harris missed the first three games of the season with a calf injury. He played in six games in the middle of the regular season, carrying the ball 116 times for 623 yards with three touchdowns. On October 22, 2021 the Bombers announced that they had placed Harris on the six-game injured list because of a knee injury he suffered when he scored a touchdown against the Edmonton Eskimos.[29] Harris would not play for the rest of season until the 2021 Western Division Finals. In the West Division Finals, Harris carried the team to their second consecutive Grey Cup as he had 136 yards rushing and a TD as the Bombers ended the Roughriders year for the third consecutive season.[30] He became a free agent upon the expiry of his contract on February 8, 2022.[31]

Toronto Argonauts

On February 8, 2022, Harris agreed to terms with the Toronto Argonauts after spending six seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.[32] In his fifth game with the Argonauts, on July 24, 2022, he became the sixth player in CFL history to rush for over 10,000 yards and is the only Canadian player to accomplish the feat.[33]

Career statistics

Legend
* Led the league
Won the Grey Cup
± Grey Cup MVP
Bold Career high
Year Team Games Rushing Receiving
GP GS Att Yards Avg TD Rec Yards Avg TD
2010 BC 18 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2011 BC 18 11 96 458 4.8 1 30 395 13.1 7
2012 BC 18 18 187 1112 6.0 7 75 718 9.6 5
2013 BC 18 18 198 998 5.0 7 61 513 8.4 4
2014 BC 12 12 122 652 5.3 2 46 529 11.5 4
2015 BC 18 18 222* 1039 4.7 8* 53 584 11.0 2
2016 WPG 15 15 195 974 5.0 4 67 631 9.4 1
2017 WPG 18 18 189 1035* 5.5 6 105 857 8.2 1
2018 WPG 18 18 239 1390* 5.8 8 64 451 7.8 3
2019 WPG± 16 16 225* 1380* 6.1 4 70 529 7.6 4
2020 WPG Season cancelled
2021 WPG 7 7 116 623 5.4 3 11 116 10.5 1
CFL totals 176 151 1,789 9,661 5.4 51 576 5,223 9.1 32

Personal

Harris was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and played high school football at Grant Park High School through his junior year. In his senior year, he transferred to Oak Park High School where he finished his high school football eligibility. His early years were spent in Steinbach, Manitoba, where he started playing the game of football at age 9 with the Eastman Raiders.[34] Harris cites his idols as former Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Charles Roberts, and hockey player Steve Yzerman.[8] Since joining the Lions and his following move to the Bombers, Harris has worn #33 as a tribute to a Vancouver Island Raiders teammate who died in a car crash in September 2008.[3] Harris has a daughter and continues to make Winnipeg his home during the off-season.[4] In November 2015, Harris bought Koncept nightclub in Nanaimo, British Columbia from Nanaimo city councillor Jerry Hong.

References

  1. ^ a b c "Harris becomes all-time Canadian leader in yards from scrimmage". CFL. August 15, 2019.
  2. ^ "The dilemma of being Canadian in the CFL". Vancouver Sun. October 28, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Lions' Andrew Harris 'too good to be true'". The Province. October 17, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Andrew Harris profile at BCLions.com". Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  5. ^ "Lions RB Harris gets chance to shine in CFL Wesr Final". TSN.ca. November 17, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 25, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2011.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Banks, McCallum and Harris honoured as Lions nearly sweep weekly CFL awards". Winnipeg Free Press (CP). November 22, 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Harris completes journey from bleachers to Grey Cup glory". TSN.ca. November 28, 2011. Archived from the original on July 28, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2011.
  9. ^ "Grey Cup-champion Lions, Harris agree to extension". TSN.ca. December 28, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2011.
  10. ^ "Canadians Andrew Harris, Jon Cornish rush into CFL record books". Vancouver Sun. October 26, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  11. ^ Lions sign running back Harris to contract extension
  12. ^ "Futures of Harris, Lulay the biggest off-season questions for Lions". TSN. November 16, 2015. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  13. ^ Heading home: Bombers land Winnipeg native Andrew Harris
  14. ^ "Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris eager to face former Lions teammates | nanaimonewsNOW". nanaimonewsnow.com. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  15. ^ "Blue Bombers end Eskimos' perfect start". CBC Sports. August 18, 2017.
  16. ^ 2017 CFL Rushing stats
  17. ^ Harris joins record book 103rd catch
  18. ^ "Bombers, Harris agree to two-year extension - Article - TSN". TSN. May 20, 2018. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  19. ^ "Bombers Remain Undefeated with Win over Argonauts". CFL. July 13, 2019.
  20. ^ TSN ca Staff (August 26, 2019). "Bombers RB Andrew Harris suspended two games for violating drug policy - TSN.ca". TSN. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  21. ^ "Harris becomes all-time Canadian rushing leader". October 25, 2019.
  22. ^ Rosen, Kayla (October 30, 2019). "Bombers' Andrew Harris snubbed in Player Awards nomination". Winnipeg. Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  23. ^ Wyman, Ted (October 30, 2019). "WYMAN: Why I did not vote for Bombers running back Andrew Harris for any CFL awards". National Post.
  24. ^ "CFOX".
  25. ^ a b Devin Heroux (November 25, 2019). "Drought over, pants on: Bombers deliver a Grey Cup win for the ages". CBC Sports.
  26. ^ Dan Ralph (November 23, 2019). "Andrew Harris, Bombers aren't worried about Grey Cup underdog status". CBC Sports.
  27. ^ "For the Grey: Bombers end cup drought with win over Ticats". cfl.ca. November 24, 2019.
  28. ^ "Staying in the 'Peg: Harris, Bombers agree to extension". Canadian Football League. January 15, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  29. ^ TSN ca Staff (October 22, 2021). "Andrew Harris knee injury Winnipeg Blue Bombers - TSN.ca". TSN. Retrieved October 22, 2021.
  30. ^ "Blue Bombers set up Grey Cup rematch with Tiger-Cats after West final victory over Roughriders". CBC Sports. December 5, 2021.
  31. ^ "Transactions – Football player trades and signings". Canadian Football League. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  32. ^ "Harris agrees to join Argonauts". TSN. February 8, 2022.
  33. ^ "Andrew Harris surpasses 10,000 career rushing yards". Canadian Football League. July 24, 2022.
  34. ^ Scott Taylor (April 2, 2014). "Winnipeg's Andrew Harris Signs Extension With B.C. Lions". MyToba.ca. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2014.
Awards and achievements Preceded byCassidy Doneff Wally Buono Award 2009 Succeeded byKleevens Jean-Louis