Trevor Harris says he hopes to return
Redblacks quarterback says he’d like to return if deal can be worked out
The Ottawa Redblacks want Trevor Harris to return next season. The Redblacks quarterback says he would like to be back and that money won’t be the only factor.
But it’s never simple when it comes to resolving Canadian Football League contracts.
Harris, who was paid more than $400,000 in 2017, is one of several big-name Redblacks who can become free agents in midFebruary.
“Of course I’d like to be here,” Harris said Tuesday, when Redblacks players, whose season ended with Sunday’s 31-20 East Division semifinal loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, showed up for exit meetings with coaches and football operations staff.
“I’m not in charge of my future. I rely on the Lord and whatever he guides me to … that’s what I’m going to do. Money’s never been a big thing for me. I played this game for $50,000 in 2012. I’ve got a family to take care of now, so it’s different, but it’s not different in terms of my drive.”
Redblacks general manager Marcel Desjardins said Harris would be the team’s first choice as quarterback for next season. Zach Collaros of the Hamilton TigerCats and James Franklin of the Edmonton Eskimos are among others who could be available.
“We would like to have Trevor back, I know he wants to be back. Let’s just hope the numbers can work that way,” Desjardins said.
“The actual paperwork is one thing, but the actual talks part
of it, that’s something we could start as soon as he and his agent are comfortable doing it. But they have to open that door first.”
Harris was offered a contract extension before this season, but the sides decided to put off discussions.
“There was a bit of communication, but it was more about trying to get this season on track, so we agreed to wait until the end of the season,” Harris said.
Even with the disappointment of being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs still fresh, the gruntwork for 2018 starts now. Along with Harris, it’s believed the list of other potential
free agents on the Redblacks roster includes receivers Brad Sinopoli, Diontae Spencer and Jake Harty, running backs William Powell and Brendan Gillanders, linebacker Taylor Reed, defensive backs Jonathan Rose and Jerrell Gavins, defensive linemen Zack Evans and Arnaud Gascon-Nadon and offensive linemen Alex Mateas and Nolan MacMillan. That’s a big chunk of talent.
“It’s the nature of the league now, with the one-year contracts and everything,” Desjardins said. “Most teams are probably in the same boat. Maybe we have a few more prominent people than in the past, but, in terms of actual numbers, I’d say it’s pretty comparable.”
Receiver Greg Ellingson offered to help out.
“I’ll definitely be in Trevor’s ear, I’ll be in Brad’s ear, telling them I hope they come back,” Ellingson said. “You want a strong foundation, especially at the quarterback position. It’d be big to get (Harris) back. At the same time, it’s not very forgiving in terms of how long your career is, so they’ll look out for their best interests.”
Harris said he was still bothered by what happened Sunday. The Roughriders will take on the Toronto Argos in the East final Sunday to decide the opponent of the winner of the West final between the Eskimos and the Stampeders in the Nov. 26 Grey Cup game at TD Place stadium.
“I’m gutted. I haven’t slept really since the game,” Harris said. “It’s a tough one for me to swallow personally. I’m a bit of a sore loser, but I’ve been told before, ‘If you show me a good loser, I’ll show you a loser.’
“I’ve learned a ton about leadership because I’ve got the opportunity to be the guy. I’ve learned that it’s not always going to be perfect. Sometimes I need to have a shorter memory in terms of letting things go. I tend to be my own worst critic. I saw Henry (Burris) last year, he’d make a mistake and it’d be like he didn’t remember it. This year, a light bulb went off for me later in the season when I would remember him doing that.”
Asked what his team would have to change in 2018, Harris said: “We need to perform better at home. Our fans are outstanding. We have to make sure we start out faster in the season and in games. That was a big thing for us. We started the season 1-6-1 and we’d start a lot of games slow.”
Harris took a hit to his right shoulder, the same one that was injured earlier this season, during Sunday’s game and appeared to be hurt, but he said he knew he could shake it off.
“It was the same thing that happened in Hamilton, the reason I didn’t freak out was because I knew what was happening,” he said. “Against Hamilton, I’d never had a stinger before. (Sunday) I knew the feeling, I was like: ‘Here comes the burn, here comes the burn,’ for about 40 seconds. I couldn’t signal the play because I couldn’t lift my shoulder. But I was, ‘All right. I just have to get through the next 30 seconds,’ I waited and let the play clock run down a bit so I could get the feeling back in my shoulder. Then I was fine.”
Redblacks GM Marcel Desjardins, left, and head coach Rick Campbell look toward quarterback Trevor Harris ahead of a year-end media availability on Tuesday. Desjardins said Harris would be the first choice as the team’s pivot next season if he re-signs.