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© 2023 CFL. All rights reserved.
© 2023 CFL. All rights reserved.
REGINA — Fans are going to have to wait a little longer to watch Trevor Harris in the green and white.
The two-time Grey Cup champion signed a two-year deal with the Saskatchewan Roughriders this off-season after two years in Montreal and 11 seasons in the CFL.
That means that fans were excited to watch their new quarterback take the field for the Riders for the first time this Saturday against the BC Lions. They’ll have to wait as the 36-year-old veteran flew out of camp to witness the birth of his third child this week.
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“It’s tough leaving at this point in camp,” acknowledged Harris to riderville.com. “I’m excited that I get to go home and see such a beautiful moment and be there for my best friend in the world — my wife — and see my boys and be able to allow our families to see them.”
It is not unusual for a coaching staff to decide to sit starters across all positions in the first game of the preseason, which we saw when the Edmonton Elks took on the Calgary Stampeders on Monday.
Nonetheless, the veteran appreciates how simple head coach Craig Dickenson’s staff made it for him.
“They made it really easy, they did a fantastic job,” the quarterback added. “Big ups to Craig Reynolds (team president and CEO), (general manager Jeremy O’Day), coach Craig (Dickenson), they all did a tremendous job in terms of making it easy for me.”
Without the starting quarterback around during the week – and ultimately on Saturday – that means opportunity for quarterbacks Mason Fine, Jake Dolegala and Shea Patterson to showcase their game.
As someone who was once on a roster with an accomplished veteran quarterback in four-time Grey Cup Champion Ricky Ray when he got to the league in 2012 with the Toronto Argonauts, Harris was asked what advice he would give to his fellow signal-callers.
“They have been successful, they are professional quarterbacks,” said a smiling Harris. “My first time ever getting to play, coach told me to make sure I get some pearls of wisdom from Ricky.
“I asked him for some advice and he told me to throw it to the guys in blue jerseys.”
Harris and Patterson knew each other before getting to Saskatchewan as the two of them played together with the Alouettes in 2021.
“A lot of times with the young quarterbacks it’s not so much what they are saying or doing but the questions he’s asking,” said Harris about his young teammate. “You can tell it’s really starting to click for him.
“He’s uber talented, lots of arm talent, super athletic, bright future and really have a lot of admiration for the guy. He has a great life story with the way he grew up and the things he has gone through.”
Fine already has experience starting for the Riders, completing 67 of 102 passes for 690 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in 2022 after eventually taking up for starter Cody Fajardo – who is now with Montreal – at the end of the season.
Dolegala started Week 7’s game against the Toronto Argonauts and completed 13 of 28 passes for 131 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
The trio of 26-year-olds will battle for a chance to backup Harris during the regular season as the Riders face the Lions this weekend.
Regardless of who wins the competition, the veteran has the ultimate confidence in his teammates.
“They are ready to go,” added Harris. “They have been great football players up to this point, they know how to prepare, they are going to be great.”