Veteran quarterback Trevor Harris is being coy regarding his future with the Montreal Alouettes as the pending free agent remains set to hit the open market.
“I had a good talk with [general manager Danny] Maciocia, with [head coach] Jason Maas yesterday and today, just developing a plan for these next coming days and weeks and making sure that we’re on the same page with everything because I love those guys so much, I have so much respect for them. I guess we’ll just see what happens here over the next number of days,” Harris told CKRM in Regina on Tuesday.
“I’d hate to sound cold or non-committal or anything of that nature, I just remain fairly private with certain negotiations and where you’re leaning or this or that. So, just out of respect for the process, that’s sort of where I’ve gone with it, but I can tell you that I love Danny Maciocia, I love Jason Maas and we have a lot of reciprocated respect and that goes way past football.”
Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette recently reported that Harris appears headed for free agency, which came as a surprise given his extensive history with Maas. The pair were together with the Toronto Argonauts from 2012 and 2014 and again with the Edmonton Elks in 2019 when Harris was on pace to throw for 6,000 yards before suffering an injury to his throwing arm. Maas was hired as the new head coach of the Alouettes six weeks ago, which fuelled speculation that Harris was a lock to re-sign with the club.
There are other factors that could play into the quarterback’s future, including the unclear ownership situation in Montreal. Zurkowsky reported that minority owner Gary Stern, who is vocal on social media, isn’t a fan of Harris, though it remains unclear how long he will remain an owner of the team. 75 percent of the club’s ownership falls under the estate of Sid Spiegel, Stern’s late father-in-law who passed away in July 2021.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have what are generally considered the best facilities in the league and are always the talk of the town in Regina, generating strong television ratings and ticket sales. Harris views those factors as extra perks, though it doesn’t sound as though they’ll play a large factor in where he’ll choose to play in 2023.
“It is different when people talk about those sorts of things but is that what wakes you up in the morning and drives you? I don’t think that’s something that drives you every single day. What’s always driven me is glorifying Christ, setting up my family the best I can and the love of my teammates. … When I wake up in the morning and that alarm clock goes off, I don’t hit snooze because I don’t want to let my teammates down. That’s what really ultimately drives you,” he said.
“Everybody wants to be in a situation where [football] is important but … even in Montreal, football has become important and when we went from 2-6 to 9-9 and won a playoff game, the stadium was rocking, the fans were great.”
Harris wasn’t raised around the glitz and glamour of a big city. He was born in the village of Waldo, Ohio and attended Pleasant High School in Marion, Ohio, which has a population of approximately 35,000 residents. He’s travelled through Saskatchewan many times over the course of his 10-year CFL career and has enjoyed his time in the prairies.
“Saskatchewan’s a really cool place and I’ve always really enjoyed playing in Regina and the reason I say that is just the atmosphere. It feels like it’s important, it feels like it’s a huge game and the environment is always set really well, especially when the Riders are winning. And when the Riders are winning, that place is rocking and when you have a night game they play the ‘Bring ‘Em Out’ as an opposing team, that gets me hyped,” he said.
“You can feel the stadium rumbling and that sort of thing, so it is really cool experience. Obviously, the fans haven’t been very nice to me as an opposing player saying certain things but it’s all in good fun. I enjoy it and no fans there have really crossed the line, they’ve always just been really respectful.”
Harris will be 37 by the time the 2023 season gets underway but feels confident that he can play another “five, six great” years in the league. Though he adheres to a strict health and fitness regimen, he indicated that he would be willing to try Regina’s famous Western Pizza on one of his cheat days.
The CFL’s negotiating window opens on Sunday, Feb. 5 and will remain open for one week, allowing pending free agents to speak to teams across the league. Free agency gets underway in full on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at noon ET.