Moving on from hometown star Andrew Harris ‘still weighs on’ Blue Bombers’ GM Kyle Walters

Photo: Nik Kowalski/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Weeks after going in a different direction and away from Andrew Harris, Blue Bombers general manager Kyle Walters reflects on the decision.

The soon-to-be 35-year-old signed a one-year contract worth $165,000 in hard money with the Toronto Argonauts as a free agent in February. Harris said he felt disrespected by Winnipeg’s lack of communication during the off-season and eventual contract offer, which he considered insulting.

“It’s tough because Andrew represented himself and I generally deal with the agents. So I was dealing with Andrew Harris as the agent and it was extremely difficult,” Walters said on 680 CJOB radio in Winnipeg.

“It reminds you of what a tough business this is and some real difficult decisions have to be made. That was extremely stressful and trying times for everybody, it still weighs on me moving on from Andrew Harris.”

Harris initially signed with the Blue Bombers in February 2016 following a seven-year stint with the B.C. Lions. Winnipeg went 55-31 and captured two Grey Cup championships during his five-year tenure with the team, an improvement from the 31-59 record the Bombers posted over the five years prior to his arrival.

“Yes, Andrew was one of the initial building blocks of getting this thing turned around and helping us win back-to-back Grey Cups. We wish him the best and hope he does great things and are extremely thankful for helping get this organization to where it is today,” Walters said.

Through 74 regular season games with Winnipeg, Harris rushed 964 times for 5,402 yards, 5.6 yards per carry, with 25 touchdowns on the ground and added 311 receptions for 2,584 yards with 10 majors. He produced 7,986 yards from scrimmage for an average of 107.9 per game with the Blue Bombers.

The five-foot-ten, 216-pound ball carrier has made plenty of history of his own. In 2019, he surpassed Normie Kwong and Ben Cahoon to become the CFL’s all-time leader in rushing yards and all-purpose yards by a Canadian player. He later became the first player ever to be named the Grey Cup’s Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Canadian.

He is just 339 yards shy of becoming the fifth running back in CFL history to rush for 10,000 yards, a feat that has only been accomplished by Mike Pringle, George Reed, Johnny Bright, and Charles Roberts. Harris was limited to seven games in 2021 due to injury but remained effective, rushing for 623 yards and three touchdowns.