Andrew Harris will need ‘another week’ before returning to practice with Bombers

The reigning Grey Cup MVP will need another week before getting back to action on campus at the University of Manitoba.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ head coach Mike O’Shea spoke to the media on Wednesday and provided an update on the status of Andrew Harris.

“He certainly is progressing. He spends a lot of time with (head athletic therapist) Al (Couture). They’re kind of joined at the hip for the mornings as he gets ready. I still think another week is probably good,” said O’Shea.

The reigning Grey Cup MVP left practice on July 12 and did not return. Head coach Mike O’Shea initially told the media that Harris has an appointment to go to, though he admitted the following day that he would “take it easy for the next couple weeks.”

“Andrew really doesn’t need any reps,” said O’Shea. “What happens with guys that are so competitive is they forget how much experience they have, which is probably a good thing, right? They want the reps — they want all the reps — and then it’s our job to manage that, scale it back. He gets a lot of reps with Al and that’s what we need to do right now.”

The 34-year-old recorded 225 carries for 1,380 yards and four touchdowns in 2019, becoming the CFL’s all-time leading rusher among Canadian players. He will enter the 2021 season 962 yards shy of 10,000 in his career, a milestone that has only been reached by five players in league history.

Harris has not missed a game due to injury over the past three seasons despite a heavy workload in Winnipeg. He was suspended for two games in 2019 after testing positive for a trace amount of a performance-enhancing substance.

O’Shea also spoke of the importance of providing reps to Winnipeg’s other national running backs, including veteran Johnny Augustine, second-year man Brady Oliveira, and 2021 CFL Draft pick Kyle Borsa.

“Part of the deal is we really need to look at the other guys, too,” he said. “There’s some benefit all around, although I’m sure Andrew doesn’t see it like that. He wants to be out there on the field and we’re holding him back.”

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