High school was the last time Andrew Harris lived full-time in Winnipeg.
After putting pen to paper on a three-year contract with the Bombers, Harris is back in his hometown year-round. The 2015 CFL All-Star left B.C. where he spent the first six years of his career developing into an elite running back.
“Wally [Buono] is the way he is and certain things that I came out and said rubbed him the wrong way,” Harris says. “Obviously, there were contract discrepancies.”
That led to Harris hitting the open market. It wasn’t a forgone conclusion – like many people thought – that he would sign with Winnipeg.
“There were other teams interested and possible fits for me,” Harris says. “I’m a football player for sure, but I’m also a businessman.”
More than ever now the Canadian back and budding entrepreneur works on projects off the field. There were opportunities in football and business that made other cities contenders for Harris.
“Toronto had some interest, but I wasn’t really keen on going there because it’s such a big city and a lot of people get lost in that,” Harris explains. “Saskatchewan was another big one. The Riders take care of their players and the province is passionate about football. Saskatchewan was probably more of a suitor, but ultimately I’m in Winnipeg and I’m happy about that.”
There were way too many pros and pulling factors for Harris to go to Winnipeg and that’s ultimately why he went home.
“Saskatchewan was here,” Harris puts his hand at the level of the table, “Winnipeg was over here,” he reaches as high as he can towards the ceiling.”
Plus, at 28-years-old Harris felt like he’d been away from his daughter for long enough. And because he’s such a recognizable face in Winnipeg, that can help him get the ball rolling in terms of business ventures and setting up a career after football. Harris owns Koncept Nightclub on Vancouver Island and he’s already investing in a project to build houses in Winnipeg.
“Being back in Winnipeg so many people know who I am – my network just grew so much more. It just opens that many more doors,” Harris says. “Even going to the grocery store I’m getting stopped to do autographs at Safeway – I can’t go anywhere unnoticed.”