‘I’m up for the challenge’: Alouettes’ QB Vernon Adams Jr. welcomes Trevor Harris competition, working on being ‘less emotional’

Vernon Adams Jr. is back on social media and ready to fend off any who might covet his starting job in Montreal.

After a somewhat erratic reaction to his team’s signing of Trevor Harris, the Alouettes’ quarterback told Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette in an exclusive interview that he is re-focused and prepared to take on all contenders.

“I’m not scared of competition, that’s first and foremost. I don’t give a damn. I love competition and I’m going to come out on top, regardless,” Adams Jr. said in regards to the Harris signing.

“That is going to push me and bring that fire back out. I don’t feel like I had that fire or competition last year in camp. I’m glad they brought him back. You’re going to see the best of me.”

After several seasons bouncing around the CFL, Adams Jr. finally seized a starting job in Montreal with a sensational 2019 season. The mobile playmaker completed 283-of-431 passes (66 percent) for 3,942 yards with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, while rushing for 394 more yards and 12 scores on the ground.

After a season lost to COVID, the follow up was somewhat less impressive. In eight games in 2021, Adams went 142-of-239 passing (59 percent) for 1,949 yards with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions, adding 298 yards on the ground without a major. A knee injury cost him the end of the campaign and prompted the Alouettes to trade for former Harris from the Edmonton Elks as an emergency rental.

Nevertheless, the team made clear that Adams Jr. would be the 2022 starter, releasing Harris ahead of free agency and inking the dual-threat QB to a two-year extension in December which included a $190,000 signing bonus. If he starts every game next season, the deal will get to $445,000, but that was put in jeopardy when his team made the surprising decision to bring back the 35-year-old Harris on a reduced price tag.

The Alouettes’ investment in Harris as it stands is just $130,000 in hard money, but he could earn up to $241,000 if Adams Jr. were to falter early. The thought that his franchise might have eyes for someone else initially caused the quarterback to deactivate his Twitter account following a cryptic post, but Adams Jr. is now back online with a new outlook.

“Everyone saw how I felt. I reacted off the emotion. After reassessing, I think we’re going to have the best QB room in the league. We have options. I’m going in to compete and be that guy. I’m not mad about the signing at all,” Adams Jr. told Zurkowsky.

“Trevor’s coming in to push me and, if I don’t handle my business, that’s his job. I love and am excited for the competition and I’m up for the challenge.”

That change of perspective will be reassuring for the Alouettes, who are hoping 2022 brings a less volatile Adams Jr., both in his play and in the media. Head coach Khari Jones has already declared Adams Jr. the undisputed starter, but erratic outbursts are rarely viewed as a positive from a team leader.

“I’m sure everyone wants me to be less emotional, keep my mouth shut and just play football,” Adams Jr. acknowledged. “I don’t know what was going on with me. I’m working on it.”

That’s another step towards becoming the starter that Montreal hopes they paid for: fiery on the field and calm off of it.