Trevor Harris will play in first Riders preseason game along with ‘a lot’ of starters

Photo courtesy: Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards/Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders will play veteran quarterback Trevor Harris in the team’s first preseason game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Monday.

“It’s been a while since I’ve got to play, so I don’t know exactly (how much) — I’ll listen to Coach Mace and Coach Mueller, whatever they feel I need to do, but I plan on playing all four quarters until I’m told otherwise,” Harris said. “I’m going to go out there and let it rip, have some fun, read some defences, and play some ball for the first time in a long time.”

The 37-year-old missed most of last season with a tibial plateau fracture he suffered in mid-July. He went 3-2 as a starter during his first season in Riderville, completing 66.2 percent of his passes for 1,274 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. He carried the ball nine times for 94 yards.

“I thought I’d be a little more antsy to feel the contact or take a hit. I was nervous that I would be nervous to feel things around my feet, but I haven’t felt that way,” Harris said. “I don’t really have any hesitations about being able to get out, move around, make plays with my feet and extend plays if I need to.”

Mace indicated his squad will field a veteran-laden roster on Monday, which is relatively common for CFL teams when playing at home during the preseason. Saskatchewan’s second preseason game will be played not long after the first as the team travels to the Edmonton Elks on Saturday, May 25.

“We have a plan to play a lot of our starters to start out the game. The length of that? I’m not gonna make any promises, but certainly everybody’s excited. Everybody honestly has been begging to play, specifically in front of our home crowd,” Mace said.

“I’m hearing rumours (attendance of) at least 24 (thousand), let’s see if we get that closer to 25 (thousand), 30 (thousand) before game day, that’d be nice. Everybody’s excited to get back down (to Regina) and the young guys who’ve never seen the facility, they’re pumped, so everybody’s ready to rock.”

3DownNation’s John Hodge reported Zach Collaros won’t make the trip to Regina with Winnipeg, nor will a number of the team’s veterans.

Harris has played 168 career CFL regular season games but still welcomes playing in the preseason, believing it provides an opportunity to avoid rust come the start of the regular season.

“In the NFL, they see veterans that don’t play at all in the preseason and I think they pay for that in the back end in the first game of the (regular) season. Last year in the preseason, I didn’t get to play a bunch, I played maybe five plays and I remember saying: ‘I really would like to play longer,'” Harris said.

“I think a lot times when you get in a rhythm, you feel a rhythm, you feel good, you feel comfortable, and you get those snaps that you really need to get and the reps you need to get, you can hit the ground running in Week 1. Even some of the seasoned veterans in the NFL that don’t play in the preseason struggle Week 1 and 2. I don’t want us to do that, I want to go to Week 1 and start fast.”

The Blue Bombers and Roughriders play on Monday, May 20 at 4:00 p.m. EDT with the game being broadcast on CFL+ with radio coverage across Saskatchewan produced by Harvard Media and 620 CKRM.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.