Injured QB Trevor Harris trending toward ‘miraculous’ playoff return prior to Riders’ elimination

Courtesy: CFL

Franchise quarterback Trevor Harris was trending towards a postseason return to the lineup prior to the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ official elimination on Saturday.

Speaking to the media on Sunday, the 37-year-old veteran described the premature end to the team’s playoff hopes as a “screeching halt” that left everyone affected bruised and disoriented.

“It’s almost like you’re riding downhill and somebody slams the brakes real fast and you just fall,” Harris said. “The brakes get hit super fast and you fall forward and it’s done and over with before you’re ready or expect it.”

The veteran quarterback joined the Riders through free agency in 2023 but his much-anticipated first season in green and white lasted just five games. Harris suffered a tibial plateau fracture late in the team’s Week 6 loss to the Calgary Stampeders and required surgery, with backups Mason Fine and Jake Dolegala steering the team for the remainder of the year.

Saskatchewan never officially ruled their star pivot out for the season, holding out hope that he might be able to return for the playoffs. That dream was nearing reality, with Harris planning to begin limited practice with the team following their Week 21 bye. Instead, that time has been set aside for booking flights home for the offseason.

“I don’t know that I would have been able to play in the West Semi but the doctor told me, he said, ‘I think we’d be having an awkward conversation about you playing in the West Final,'” the quarterback revealed. “Which would have been really miraculous because they told me initially it’d be six to eight months before I’d be ready to play. We were on a nice pace.”

Seven consecutive losses to end the season killed the Riders’ playoff dreams for a second year in a row and nixed any heroic comeback. Harris’ first campaign in Regina finished 104-of-157 passing (66.2 percent) for 1,274 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions in five appearances.

The 11-year CFL veteran signed a two-year contract totalling more than $1 million last offseason, meaning he’ll be back in Saskatchewan next year if he does not elect to retire. The new father of three isn’t ruling out any options but doesn’t want to end his career in such an unsatisfying way.

“I say contemplate my future but I want to play football, I think,” Harris said. “I’m not a thousand percent sure, but dag gone it, man, I’m not gonna have my last play be like that.”

As his teammates loaded their possessions into trash bags and exited the facility, it was clear that not everyone else would have the luxury of choosing to return. The Riders are expected to face major organizational changes as both head coach Craig Dickenson and general manager Jeremy O’Day have played out expiring contracts and could be gone in the coming days.

New management will be expected to overhaul the roster, though Harris believes the situation is not nearly as dire as many have made it out to be.

“If you look around this room, we have good football players in this locker room. We don’t have a bad roster. We have a top-three or four roster in this league. We have talent, the guys that are in here, it’s just about us making the recipe complete,” he insisted.

“It’s just one of those things. I think (Dickenson and O’Day) have done a good job putting the right guys in this room and I guess we’ll kind of see what happens from there, but those are things that are above my pay grade.”

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.