Andrew Harris wanted the football with a chance to beat his former team while playing Winnipeg for the first time since the Blue Bombers let him leave in the offseason.
After the Toronto Argonauts scored a touchdown with 25 seconds left on the clock to make the score 23-22, head coach Ryan Dinwiddie elected to send kicker Boris Bede out for an extra point try. The veteran missed the kick that would have tied the game instead of attempting a two-point convert for the win. Did Harris want the offence to stay on the field and go for the lead?
“Of course — of course — but it is what it is. That’s a safe play, Boris is money and we trust him — mistakes happen but 10 times out of 10 that’s going in,” Harris said.
“We went for one and we missed it, that’s all that happened, man. Wish we maybe could’ve got an opportunity but the call is the call and the play was the play. It is what it is and we’ll move on from it.”
The 35-year-old Harris ran the ball 22 times for 111 yards (5 yards per carry) and caught one pass for 13 yards to total 124 yards from scrimmage against Winnipeg. The Bombers decided not to re-sign the hometown hero in February and it led to the five-time CFL all-star signing with the Argos.
“That’s the best team in the league and we were right there, it’s unfortunate we lost but there are some positives outta that,” Harris said.
“We started off behind the eight-ball — other than the B.S. on the sideline, we gotta mature as a team and cut that nonsense out — but when it mattered we came together and put a drive together, our defence shut ’em down and we had a chance.”
Toronto trailed 17-0 in the second quarter but did not give up, outscoring Winnipeg 22-6 to make it competitive in the end. The Argos turned the ball over four times with quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson being intercepted twice, which led directly to the first 14 points of the game for Winnipeg.
“Andrew played unbelievable. We’re not even close to in that game if Andrew doesn’t run the ball. He played like a frickin’ champion. He played like who he is: a monster and his heart is as big as that football field out there, it’s as big as a Canadian football field. His talent is up there with it, he carried the offence,” Bethel-Thompson said.
“All the 11 other players need to look to him and say: ‘We owe him more than that, he deserves better around him.’ He deserves better play from his quarterback, he deserves better play from his receivers, he deserves better play from his o-linemen. The way he toted the rock was remarkable. The way he ran with passion, with fervour and took those shots was incredible and he deserves better.”
It was apparent the Argos wanted to push Harris over the top against the Bombers. His championship mindset has been on display in the double blue locker room. That’s helped him play a major role on three Grey Cup-winning teams, including back-to-back CFL titles with the blue and gold in 2019 and 2021. The third ring was received in a different way compared to the first two.
“To get it in a hallway right before a game is not ideal,” Harris said. “I haven’t even really looked at it yet, but I got it finally and I’ll get to it.”
Harris was teammates with Adam Bighill in B.C. and Winnipeg, winning three Grey Cups together. For the first time since 2016, the two offensive and defensive stars went head-to-head in game action on a CFL field.
“Bighill is a dog out there, he’s the ultimate competitor. He got me a couple times and I got him a couple times, that’s exactly how I figured it was going to go,” Harris said. “Tons of respect for him and their whole d-line and linebackers, that was a lot of fun.”
The reigning Most Outstanding Defensive Player had four tackles, one sack and one key tipped ball that led to an interception to help hand an ‘L’ to Harris.