MONTREAL – A staggering 17 quarterbacks have started at least one game for the Alouettes in eight seasons since Anthony Calvillo’s retirement. So could the Montreal team lose the services of Trevor Harris?
If Harris, despite his 36 years, agreed with another team, the Alouettes would have to start over from scratch, or almost.
Some indications lead us to deduce that general manager Danny Maciocia will not take long to solve this file. With no hope of becoming the next Calvillo, who racked up close to 80,000 passing yards (that’s not a mistake), Harris would like to lead the Alouettes to the Gray Cup like No. 13 did.
“Seventeen is amazing. It shows again the exceptional career he had. I won’t be the next Calvillo. But Scott Milanovich, one of my mentors, told me when I lost the last game at 32, that Calvillo had won his second Gray Cup at 35 or 36 (37 actually). You have to aim as high as you can,” Harris said.
The veteran quarterback had regained his mental alertness Monday during player evaluation. The day before, his face was horrified after his team’s defeat in the Eastern semifinals.
“In attack we had the necessary elements to win. I became good friends with several guys and you realize that you are not going to play with the same band anymore. It is emotional because he had visualized them drinking from the Gray Cup. We sacrifice our body to play and it just hits you mentally when it stops,” Harris explained.
Without the defense’s brain cramp on the Argonauts’ third touchdown run, the two teams would have racked up 27 points. Taking a closer look at his team’s offensive performance, Harris rather pulls his hair out thinking about the end of the first half.
Trailing 24-10, the Alouettes got to the Argos’ 10-yard line, but Harris was the victim of two consecutive sacks so Montreal had to settle for a field goal before retiring to the locker room.
“When I think about the game, this end of the streak seriously bothers me. It was good to have points before the half, but it wasn’t good enough. I’m tired of doing well, I want us to excel,” said Harris, who didn’t blame the offensive line.
His other big disappointment came at the end of the game when the winners had passed the last four minutes. He talked Harris into getting the ball another time.
“He broke my heart. I started by saying on the sidelines that we were going to get the ball back, we were going to score a touchdown, we were going to make two points and we were going to the finals. I know Danny has a bit of a gritty side, so I asked him to think about his play for the two-point conversion. I had this vision that we would get there,” the quarterback said.
Harris agrees that he had his ups and downs in the first few weeks of the schedule, but is considered one of the top 3 quarterbacks in the CFL thereafter. This is explained in particular by the cohesion developed with Calvillo, who inherited the role of offensive coordinator after the dismissal of Khari Jones.
“Throughout the season, we have built good communication and a bond of trust. We saw it in the last stretch of the season with our way of moving up the field,” he said.
Harris has overcome a major challenge this season. Hired as the insurance policy behind Vernon Adams Jr., he saved the Alouettes’ year.
“During the last offseason, some teams contacted me and then called me to say they couldn’t offer me a contract because they didn’t think their starter could mentally handle the fact that I was the reserve,” Harris. he revealed.
“The fact that Danny wanted to create an atmosphere of competition, that says a lot. As an athlete, you want to play for someone like him because professional sports is all about competition. If he scares you, you better go home, ”he continued.
“I would love to come back with the Alouettes. Last offseason it felt like the musical chair and I was the quarterback who was left without a chair. So I had extra motivation to show that I am in the top-3 of the CFL and that I can lift the Gray Cup,” said the American.
Is it possible to stay with Stanback and Fletcher?
In addition to Harris, we know that receiver Eugene Lewis was also in the final year of his contract. It’s the same for running back Walter Fletcher, who put up a terrific shoot. But the Alouettes will have to determine if they can afford the services of Fletcher, who will get a significant pay raise, and William Stanback, who has a 2023 contract.
“I am not sure with the salary cap since several important players will be freelancers. But I am convinced that Stanback and I can live together, we proved it at the end of the season”, commented Fletcher.
“Stanback spoke to me after the game to tell me that he was going to do everything possible to keep me here. It was wonderful to hear from him because he is a very good person,” Fletcher said.
Stanback therefore seems ready to share the job with Fletcher.
“I say, Fletcher is a beast, he is so good. We would have to figure out how to fix everything so that it makes sense to everyone. I want the best for him and in the end he’s going to have to make a decision because it’s a business,” Stanback said.
The running back would be happy to see Fletcher back as he enjoys giving back.
“Tyrell Sutton has been wonderful to me. He was piercing through his opponents and that was the style he wanted to implement. Now I can share what Suttton and Jeremiah Johnson taught me. I am happy to be able to give back and it makes me proud,” concluded Stanback.
With the Alouettes trailing quickly 21-3, Fletcher was not passed once and had to settle for three runs.
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