CFL Pass

Eskimos quarterback Harris back in the saddle for home stretch

Trevor Harris is back, armed and dangerous.

The Edmonton Eskimos starting quarterback, who was having himself a Most Outstanding Player of a season leading the Canadian Football League in passing yards until suffering an injury to his throwing arm, was back out on the field Monday as the team returned to work off a bye week.

Earlier in the day, he was officially activated off the six-game injured list where he spent the previous three of the four games he ended up missing with the injury he initially received against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Aug. 23.

He played through the Labour Day Classic the following week, but would get pulled one quarter into the rematch on Sept. 7.

“Elated,” Harris said, describing his feelings to reporters following Monday’s short on-field session at Commonwealth Stadium. “The fact that we took care of business as a team these last few weeks and made it in the playoffs, we’re right where we want to be.

“We’re in the playoffs, we just want to make sure we get healthy, get tuned up and just play to win.”

The results of the upcoming back-to-back set against the Saskatchewan Roughriders won’t make a difference in the standings for an Eskimos team that is locked into a crossover playoff spot that will see them take to the road to face the Montreal Alouettes in the East Division semifinal Nov. 10.

But besides giving the Eskimos, who sit 8-8, a chance to finish with a winning record, these next two weeks will offer Harris a dress rehearsal for when games start mattering most.

“Last week, sometime during the week I felt I turned a corner to where the strength was coming back,” Harris said. “I was able to throw the passes with touch, with velocity, with accuracy and on time and not think about it. No hesitation.

“I tried to get them to let me play last week but they just were being cautious, which looking back in hindsight was smart.”

Harris, who ranks right up there with quarterbacks who are as tough as they come when it comes to playing through injury, has never been through anything quite like this one before.

“This is the longest I’ve ever been out in football and it was kind of weird because any other injury I’ve had, I’ve been able to power through,” he said. “I’ve never had an injury where I literally couldn’t do it.

“To use the analogy, it was like Spider-man but you don’t have the web stuff, right? It’s not like I’m a superhero or anything, but when you’re injured and you can’t do it, it’s really weird. It feels like you just can’t do something you’ve done your whole life.”

Like Captain America without a shield, Iron Man without his armour or a Hulk that can’t smash, without his arm, Harris was relegated to the sideline. Actually, he couldn’t even stand there once he was placed on the six-game injured list, where players aren’t allowed to be on the practice field.

And that’s not an instrument a professional quarterback can simply grin and bear through.

“Last year, was MCL and high ankle on one play and I had a hyper-extension earlier this year,” Harris said. “Those things you can gut through as a quarterback. As long as your right arm’s in tact, you can kind of gut through it, aside from breaking bones and those sorts of things.

“It was strange, but I’m just blessed to be back and thankful to be a part of this great organization.”

The feeling, of course, is mutual.

“It’s great to have Trevor back,” said Eskimos head coach Jason Maas. “We knew he was close. Even going back to the last game against B.C., we thought he might be able to go and it just didn’t quite feel good enough.

“So thankfully he took the extra week, now it ends up being two weeks extra, and he will be ready to play this week.”

Email: gmoddejonge@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge

Source: calgarysun.com




More on this: 1 stories