Andrew Harris ‘coy’ on retirement but Argos’ GM Pinball Clemons sees his ‘future in double blue’

Photo: Michael Scraper/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Canadian running back Andrew Harris remains undecided on the prospect of retirement but the Toronto Argonauts would like to see the soon-to-be 36-year-old return for another CFL season.

“I see his future in double blue but he sees his future in multiple options that he has in the offseason here,” general manager Pinball Clemons told 3DownNation‘s Justin Dunk at the league’s winter meetings.

Harris was open about the possibility of stepping away from the game ahead of the 109th Grey Cup, contemplating “riding off into the sunset.” That storybook ending became a meaningful possibility after he won his third consecutive championship, but the future Hall of Famer has since remained quiet about his decision-making process.

“He’s talked to me and he’s even given me the name of one of the guys he works out with and different things like that. So he’s fed me a couple of ideas and that kind of thing but he’s been very resistant in terms of saying whether [he’s coming back],” Clemons noted.

“I shouldn’t say resistant, that’s not the right word because we do have great conversations, but he has been coy, if you will, about what’s going to happen and you try to give him enough space.”

Harris dressed for just eight regular-season games in 2022, rushing 114 times for 490 yards while adding 23 receptions for 180 more. The Winnipeg native suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Week 10 that was supposed to be season-ending, but he remained with the team and made a miraculous return for the Argos’ playoff run.

He added 19 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown through two games while catching two passes for 44 yards, culminating in a Grey Cup upset of his former team, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

A product of the Vancouver Island Raiders in the Canadian Junior Football League, Harris began his CFL career in 2010 with the B.C. Lions. He broke out the following season and was named the Most Valuable Canadian in the Lions’ 2011 Grey Cup victory, posting four more successful seasons in Vancouver before jumping to the Bombers in free agency.

The homegrown ball carrier made an instant impact, winning Most Outstanding Canadian in just his second season with Winnipeg. He led the CFL in rushing for three straight years from 2017 to 2019, helping the franchise break its 29-year championship drought by being named the Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Canadian in the 107th Grey Cup. The Bombers repeated as champs in 2021 but moved on from the aging Harris in the offseason, allowing him to sign in Toronto.

Though his production took a step back with the Argos, Harris played a critical leadership role for the team by helping bridge the divide between players and coaches. He also crossed several historic milestones in 2022, becoming the first Canadian to ever rush for over 10,000 career yards and moving into fourth on the CFL’s all-time yards from scrimmage list.

While he has discussed the possibility of moving into coaching or exploring other business ventures, Harris’ future remains undetermined with less than a month remaining before he hits free agency. As the future Hall of Famer makes his decision, the Argos are committed to remaining patient.

“We do talk at least a couple of times a month generally and so we kind of stay in touch,” Clemons said. “When he’s ready, he’ll let us know.”

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.