‘Just watch’: Riders’ QB Trevor Harris sends message to doubters following major injury

Courtesy: CFL

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback Trevor Harris played his first football game since July 15, 2023 when he helped lead his team to a 25-12 preseason win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Monday.

That’s 10 months and five days after suffering a devastating tibial plateau fracture in his right leg and knee. As he took the Mosaic Stadium turf on Monday in the Riders’ preseason debut against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, he reflected on his recovery process.

“I came to grips with it as I walked out on the field, thought about what had happened and the work that had gone into coming back. I said, ‘If something were to happen again, I’m at peace with it because I grew so much from it,'” Harris shared.

“As soon as I came to grips with whatever happens happens, it lets you let go of anything that could happen in the future.”

Harris completed seven-of-nine pass attempts for 123 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. The soon-to-be 38-year-old sent a message to doubters who thought he should’ve retired coming off a major injury.

“I hope they think that — just watch. It’s not about proving X, Y or Z wrong. It’s about proving the people who have believed in me and been with me all along,” said Harris, who got a vote of confidence from Saskatchewan’s new bench boss.

“His knowledge being able to process the defence and what was happening — I thought we moved the ball fairly efficiently,” said first-year head coach Corey Mace. “I gave him an extra drive and I think it worked out marching us down the field.”

The six-foot-three, 212-pound veteran passer was pleased with how he moved the ball down the field during his possessions but noted the need to finish with majors. He wanted to be in rhythm and trust his eyes while getting the ball out on time and letting it rip. No. 7 felt it was a “clean” performance to help the Green and White to a win.

“It’s a preseason game, it doesn’t matter for the regular season, but if you’re keeping score, you might as well try and win the games — I think winning is a habit,” Harris said. “You gotta try and win games, no matter what. If we think this means anything, I think we’re dead wrong.”

Shea Patterson completed three-of-three pass attempts for 52 yards with one touchdown to Canadian rookie Ajou Ajou, who made an ultra-athletic catch-and-run score. First-year QB Jack Coan completed six-of-eight passes for 40 yards, while veteran Antonio Pipkin went zero-for-three and Mason Fine did not attempt a pass in limited action.

“(Fine)’s gotta be smart with his body, there was a situation with him. We had to be smart with him so he can continue to compete at a high level. We didn’t want to risk it, that was my call,” Mace said. “We tried to get an equal amount of reps. I was pleased with how efficient our offence moved the ball.”

The Riders will play their second of two preseason games when they visit the Edmonton Elks on Saturday, May 25 at Commonwealth Stadium.

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