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This article was published 6/11/2019 (271 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Andrew Harris is having a most outstanding player type of season, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back will have to settle for being an all-star.
Harris was one of six Bombers named CFL divisional all-stars on Wednesday. The hometown star led the league in rushing for a third-straight season, finishing with 1,380 rushing yards and four touchdowns in 16 games. He added 70 receptions for 529 yards and four scores.
Despite carrying the load for the Bombers all season, Harris did not receive the votes from the local media to be the team’s nominee for the most outstanding player or most outstanding Canadian. Instead, it was defensive end Willie Jefferson and special-teams ace Mike Miller, respectively, who came away with the votes.
But the snub had nothing to do with Harris’s numbers. It was due to the fact he was handed a two-game suspension for a doping violation.
Harris claims he unknowingly purchased a tainted over-the-counter men’s supplement from a local health store, which led to him testing positive for an anabolic steroid. Even if that is what happened, the price he is paying is losing a shot at winning a major individual award for his dominant season.
In a media scrum after Wednesday’s practice, Harris was asked how big a deal it was to him that he didn’t get the votes.
"Talk to these guys," Harris said, referring to the award voters in the scrum, before walking back to the locker room.
The CFL’s nine head coaches also get a say in the awards and Bombers boss Mike O’Shea confirmed he voted for Harris. The CFL has no rule that disqualifies players who fail drug tests from award voting.
The NFL has a rule in place where a failed test makes a player ineligible for any awards, including selection to the Pro Bowl. The situation surrounding Harris had many people wondering why the CFL doesn’t have a similar rule.
O’Shea was asked if voting for Harris sends a wrong message to the public.
"I’ve gone on record saying I believe it was accidental. I’ll say it again," O’Shea said. "I also firmly believe that if there’s a process in place, in the middle of the process is not the time to try and change it. That’s what the off-season is for. If you want something changed like that in the middle of the season, in the middle of a process that’s going on, you voice that in the off-season and you change the process then and not in the middle of the season."
Bombers halfback Marcus Sayles, who was also named a division all-star, said the team has Harris’s back. But he added the squad is focused not on awards, but their West Division semifinal playoff showdown Sunday against the Calgary Stampeders.
"I don’t think he cares so much about the accolade. He’s a team guy," Sayles said.
"He’s been in the league so long, he’s the league leader in rushing, he’s made plays whenever he’s out there. He’s just ready to win a Grey Cup. That’s everybody’s mindset."
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.
Updated on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 10:14 PM CST: Fixes type formatting
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