Andrew Harris takes ‘a lot of pride’ influencing increased opportunities for Canadian running backs

Photo courtesy: CFL

Andrew Harris is the best Canadian running back to ever play in the CFL.

He’s got the statistics, awards and trophies to back it up. Although, aside from the star created for himself, the 34-year-old remains most proud of the chances other nationals are seeing at the position.

“I definitely take a lot of pride in having some sort of influence on that along with guys like [Jerome] Messam and [Jon] Cornish that are in the same era as mine. It’s awesome to see Canadians get an opportunity, it’s awesome to see Canadians get drafted at running back,” Harris said.

“It’s great to see, there’s lots of great players out there, especially at positions dominated by Americans. It’s awesome to see the opportunities and not only for the guys to be playing, but to have a big impact and be big impact players on their teams, it’s amazing.”

Two of those examples are Harris’ teammates, Brady Oliveira and Johnny Augustine. Oliveira was selected in the second round, 14th overall during the 2019 CFL Draft while Augustine went undrafted in 2017. Both born and raised Canadians have started at running back for the Bombers.

“They’re both explosive players and guys that will have long careers in this league,” Harris said.

“Brady’s game is a little bit more similar to mine as far as how he cuts and how physical he is. Brady has definitely grown a lot this year.”

The 24-year-old Oliveira rushed 94 times for 429 yards, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, and two touchdowns, including two 100-yard performances in place of an injured Harris during the 2021 regular season.

Augustine has spent three seasons with the blue and gold. He’s rushed 85 times for 578 yards, averaging 6.8 yards per carry, with one touchdown and recorded his first career 100-yard effort in Week 16 against the Calgary Stampeders.

“Johnny’s been in the system for a bit now and it’s been great to work with him and pass along my knowledge,” Harris said.

“Johnny is a very quick, slasher kind of a running back. He also is very physical as well, he’s probably the most jacked guy I’ver ever been on a team with. ”

Canadian running backs are alive and producing at a high level for Winnipeg.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.