Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ running back Andrew Harris is lacking confidence in the Canadian Football League and its ability to return to play in 2021.
After a league-specific financial package was denied by the Canadian federal government, the CFL cancelled its 2020 season when commissioner Randy Ambrosie and the board of governors voted not to play.
“To have that be stripped away, it’s a weird moment, and your whole routine changes. So you’ve got to figure out ways to stay busy and keep your mind, body and soul activated and engaged,” Harris told Postmedia reporter Paul Friesen.
“That’s probably been a big struggle for a lot of guys, and myself included. There’s only so many things you can do for so long before you start to lose your mind a little bit.”
The last time Harris played in a CFL game he ran for 134 yards on 18 carries — 7.4 yards per carry average — and caught five passes for 35 yards. Overall Harris totaled 169 offensive yards and two touchdowns in the Bombers’ 2019 Grey Cup victory against Hamilton.
The hometown hero, Harris was named the Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Canadian — it’s the first time in Grey Cup history the same player won both awards — leading Winnipeg to its first CFL title in 29 years, beating the Tiger-Cats 33-12. The 33-year-old isn’t banking on being able to defend in 2021.
“I’m not really counting on it as much as I might have been last (season). Hopefully it works out and we can get back on the field,” Harris said.
“I’m going to stay in shape and do the things that I do, but I’m just not going to be fully counting on it and having a high expectation that it will.”
The league had been working for months to play a six-game campaign with Winnipeg serving as its hub city in 2020. Those plans were scrapped after the federal government refused the CFL’s request for a $30-million interest-free loan. Ambrosie acknowledged failure for the lack of a season this year and he’s stated the league is exploring all options for returning to play in 2021.
The face of the franchise in Winnipeg won’t believe it until the season happens.