Trevor Harris ready to replace Mike Reilly as Edmonton Eskimos quarterback

EDMONTON — Trevor Harris has stepped in to fill some pretty big shoes during his first seven seasons as a quarterback in the CFL, so taking over from Mike Reilly as the Edmonton Eskimos’ starter for the 2019 season is nothing new.

Playing behind Ricky Ray with the Toronto Argonauts and Henry Burris for a time during three seasons with the Ottawa Redblacks before signing with Edmonton as a free agent in February, Harris knows about having tough acts to follow.

“I focus on leading my teammates, loving my teammates and doing everything I can do to be the best guy I can be for them,” Harris said. “We’ve just got to make sure we do everything we can to wrap our arms around each other and grow together and we’ll maximize our potential.”

With former most outstanding player Reilly signing with the B.C. Lions as a free agent this off-season, Harris takes his place with the Eskimos, who missed the playoffs for the first time in five seasons in 2018.

In 17 games with the 11-7 Redblacks, Harris passed for 5,116 yards and 22 touchdowns. He threw for a CFL record six TD’s against Hamilton in the Eastern final on the way to a 27-16 loss to the Calgary Stampeders in the 106th Grey Cup at Commonwealth Stadium, the place he now calls home.

“I think to play quarterback there’s four attributes you need to have,” head coach Jason Maas said. “You need to be smart, and Trevor is. Everybody that I’ve been around that’s been really successful, puts the time in and Trevor is one of those guys. He’ll understand our offence as well as anybody on our team — he’s been in this offence for eight years. That’s a lot of experience.

“He’s accurate. We did a thing last night, and at a minimum of 100 attempts, he’s the most accurate quarterback in the history of the CFL, so he completes balls. You’ve got to be tough, mentally and physically tough, and I think Trevor is that.

“The last thing is consistency. With Trevor, I see consistency every day. The way he prepares. The way he is on the field. The way he is as a person. That lends itself to being successful.”

When Harris couldn’t strike a new deal with the Redblacks, he signed a two-year deal with the Eskimos, who were faced with replacing the popular and prolific Reilly. Reilly returned to B.C., where his CFL career began, after six seasons in Edmonton — the last three with 5,000-plus passing yards.

As things shook out, it wasn’t a tough call for Harris, who has a career completion percentage of 70.4, to come to Edmonton. Maas was his quarterback coach in Toronto. GM Brock Sunderland was an assistant GM during his time in Ottawa.

“You can say it doesn’t make it easier, but it did,” Harris said. “Knowing Brock Sunderland was here, the guy who brought in a lot of the talent in Ottawa. He’s an architect who has put together some tremendous rosters. Look at the roster Edmonton had last year.

“Jason Maas is a guy I have a tremendous amount of respect for. He was my first-ever quarterback coach in this league. I started learning my basics from Jason.”

Sunderland signed two of Harris’ teammates from Ottawa the first day of free agency. Greg Ellingson, who has four straight seasons of 1,000-plus yards receiving, will bolster a pass-catching corps that will be without Duke Williams, who led the CFL last season with 1,579 receiving yards, Derel Walker and Bryant Mitchell.

“Talking to Brock and Maas in the off-season when they were trying to get me to come here, the emphasis they had was on winning and that’s something in Ottawa we did a good job with the last three or four years,” Ellingson said.

“If you just look at the stats sheets, his completions, Trevor is one of the most accurate guys in the league in the history of the CFL. Besides that, just knowing him, it’s his preparation. He prepares like no other. He’s a leader in that aspect. He set that example for me, too. It made me push harder to prepare better.”

Up front, all-star offensive left tackle SirVincent Rogers, voted the CFL’s outstanding lineman in 2015, is with the Eskimos.

“Really, it’s just about that comfort level,” Harris said. “Having Greg and SirV here, I know that I have a tremendous receiver out there who is going to make plays and make me look good and I know that I don’t have to worry about my blindside ever.

“Brock has done an outstanding job or not only putting together roster here in terms of talent, but he’s put good people in this locker room. That’s how you win in this league. You win with good people.

“They believe in me. I’m excited about it. My main focus every day is earning a roster spot, but I want to prove them right and I plan on doing that.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From masks to cohorting, a guide to back-to-school rules across the country

Plans are being made across the country for how to safely send… Continue reading

Red Deer asking for feedback on new transit routes

The new routes will begin Aug. 23

Red Deer region unemployment hits 14% in July

Unemployment in Red Deer region nearly double July 2019 rate of 7.4%

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

OTTAWA — Canada’s labour market gained 419,000 jobs last month as more… Continue reading

1 in 7 Albertans have been tested for COVID-19

56 additional cases Thursday, 1,107 active cases remain in the province

Protestors for Indigenous Lives Matter gather in Wetaskiwin

Protestors gathered along 56 St Wetaskiwin, Alta. August 4, 2020 for Indigenous Lives Matter.

You have nothing to fear from central EMS dispatching

My name is Brad Higgins. I am reaching out with respect to… Continue reading

Maskwacis teen charged in 10-year-old boy’s death

The RCMP Major Crimes Unit have laid a manslaughter charge against a 14-year-old boy from Maskwacis.

‘Caught up in the frenzy:’ Oilers 50/50 draw breaking ticket sale records

Previous record was held by Toronto Raptors fans when a 50/50 raffle reached $2 million

Expanded rail service would put Alberta’s economy on the fast track

To empower our communities, unite our province, and grow our economy, Alberta… Continue reading

Alberta jury trials to resume next month at offsite locations due to COVID-19

About 12 locations across Alberta may host the trials in halls, hotels and community centres

Alberta school curriculum to focus on basics, keep out political bias: minister

NDP education critic says the kindergarten to Grade 4 changes should have been implemented a year ago

Walmart to make face masks mandatory for customers across Canada

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

Oilers 50/50 draw prepared for more fan frenzy for Game 4 against Blackhawks

EDMONTON — Frenzy over the Edmonton Oilers online 50/50 draw may continue… Continue reading

Most Read