Bombers' Harris lashes out after being labeled as a cheater by Als' Bowman
MONTREAL — Embattled Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris lashed out Friday after being publicly labeled as a cheater by Montreal Alouettes defensive end John Bowman.
“It’s ignorant as hell,” Harris said at the Bombers’ hotel a day before his team will play the Alouettes at Molson Stadium.
“Just look at the facts. It’s just adding gas to the fire right now, so thanks John.”
Speaking to RDS reporter Didier Ormejuste, the veteran Bowman had this to say about facing Harris as he comes off a two-game suspension for failing a performance-enhancing drug test:
“Hopefully he’s cycled off, he’s clean and we can tackle him,” Bowman said. “Any cheater deserves to get what they get. If it was up to me, he would have been suspended longer.”
Harris has steadfastly maintained his innocence since his positive drug test was announced in late August. He blamed a contaminated legal supplement and says he has shipped the product off for testing, which he hopes will clear his name.
Harris took his second drug test in 10 days on July 12 and tested positive for a steroid known as metandienone.
“When you actually look at the facts, look at what it is, the amount of times that I’ve been tested, the trace amounts, it proves that this isn’t intentional,” Harris said. “If people want to think that this is something I’ve been doing, or this is who I am, then they’re just ignorant to the facts.”
Many of his teammates and coach Mike O’Shea have said they believe Harris, but around the league there is not as much sympathy.
“People are gonna take an opportunity to jump on someone whenever they can and this is just more proof of that,” Harris said. “We’ll see (Bowman) on the field (Saturday).”
The 9-3 Bombers meet the 6-5 Alouettes at 3 p.m., CT.
Harris is the CFL’s leading rusher, with 908 yards, despite sitting out the last two games. He is looking for his third straight CFL rushing title at 32.
He has always been a widely respected CFL player, known for both his on-field performance and his off-field work ethic.
It’s clearly eating him up that his image has been tarnished and that some of his CFL brethren are rubbing salt in the wounds.
“I was having beers with John at Grey Cup, you know, hanging out,” Harris said. “He’s a nice guy, but then again, when he gets an opportunity to say something, he pops off. It just shows true colours.”
Unless Harris can find a way to prove his innocence — he said testing the product he says was contaminated is like finding a needle in a haystack — he’s likely going to have to accept this type of criticism.
The fact is he did test positive, the drug was in his system and the CFL rules were enforced. Harris is at risk of losing votes for season-ending awards, even though his numbers should make him a strong candidate for most outstanding player and most outstanding Canadian.
“I can’t even be disappointed about anything at this point now,” Harris said.
“I was hoping this would be something that wouldn’t go on and after the two weeks it would be forgotten but obviously people still want to talk about it for whatever reason. That’s just something I’ll have to deal with.”
Harris, who has been angry all week since returning to practice, was asked if this all might just be gamesmanship from Bowman, ahead of Saturday’s festivities.
“If that’s what he thinks is gonna help his team get fired up or get in my head, then he doesn’t know what kinds of things motivate me,” Harris said. “You kick me when I’m down, you spit on me. I don’t appreciate and it gets me going.”
Als QB says Stanback better running back than Harris
Alouettes quarterback Vernon Adams, Jr., raised a few eyebrows on Friday when he said Montreal running back Will Stanback is better than Andrew Harris of the Bombers.
Harris leads the league in rushing and is also an excellent receiver, while Stanback has proven to be powerful and explosive carrying the rock to the tune of 746 yards this season.
Harris has played 10 seasons and is the league’s all-time leader in yards from scrimmage by a Canadian and is 10th all-time among all players in rushing yards.
Stanback is a second-year pro.
“Andrew Harris is a Hall of Fame guy, he’s been doing it for a long time as a receiver and a running back, but as of right now I’m picking Stanback over Andrew Harris.
“No disrespect to Andrew Harris, don’t try to mix me up. I’m just going with my guy Stanback.
A reporter then said: “Of course, cause you have to.”
To which Adams replied: “I don’t, but I’m going with Stanback.”