TSN’s Ryan Rishaug on Edmonton’s trade: ‘They lost faith in Trevor Harris’

The Edmonton Elks’ decision to trade Trevor Harris to the Montreal Alouettes still has a lot of people wondering how things got to that point.

TSN reporter Ryan Rishaug went on The Nielson Show on TSN 1260 to discuss how things went down.

“At some point, they lost faith in Trevor Harris,” Rishaug said. “Something broke here and he went from being the franchise guy who they believed could take them to the promised land that they were thrilled to get and they felt that as early as the start of this season.”

Harris had a strong first season in Edmonton after he signed with the team as a free agent from Ottawa. He started 13 games in 2019, completing 343-of-478 passes (71.8 percent) for 4,027 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also added 48 rushes for 139 yards with six touchdowns.

The 35-year-old also set CFL playoff records in the East Semi-Final against Montreal with 22 consecutive completions and a completion percentage of 92.3 percent.

Rishaug thinks the relationship soured back in September when Harris pulled himself out of practice with what the team identified as a neck injury.

“I’m going to look back to the week where they were scheduled to play Winnipeg and partway through the week suddenly Trevor Harris wasn’t starting anymore and Taylor Cornelius was, so it was the neck injury it was pointed too,” Rishaug explained.

“That felt like a bit of an inflection point in terms of where things seemed to really significantly change because he played well in the one against Calgary and then not great in the return matchup. Then he suddenly wasn’t starting against Winnipeg because of an injury and then not starting the following week against Ottawa when the rumblings behind the scenes were he was upset with not being able to go in that game. Something broke right in and around there.”

In six games with the Elks this season, Harris completed 135-of-192 (70 percent) of his passes for 1,568 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions. He was held out of last week’s game in favour of rookie backup Taylor Cornelius, a shocking decision after a poor season to date for the Elks who are 2-7, last place in the West Division.

Even with that, Rishaug feels this is an interesting decision given the expectations on the franchise heading into the season.

“They are in a window where they want to be competitive, they want to push for Grey Cups. This is not a rebuild, yet they’re a team with no experience at the quarterback position,” Rishaug said.

“However you may feel about Taylor Cornelius and what he’s shown you to this point, the organization trying to sell that they’re still in win-now mode, yet going with a guy that has no experience? I’m not sure how you reconcile that with the fanbase.”

Harris is expected to be available for the Alouettes (5-4) in Week 13 against Saskatchewan (5-4), while his now-former team, the Elks, have a Week 12 bye before a matchup with Hamilton in Week 13.

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