The CFL suspended Harris immediately on Monday for allegedly breaching the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
In a series of statements, Bombers’ president and CEO Wade Miller and head coach Mike O’Shea said the football club fully supports Harris “through this extremely difficult and unfortunate situation.”
“We look forward to Andrew re-joining us on the field for game days following the bye week,” Miller said.
O’Shea said Harris has been tested eight times since becoming a Blue Bomber, including three times this season. He was last tested 10 days prior to the test that came back positive.
Harris, a 32-year-old Winnipeg native, is currently the CFL’s rushing leader with 908 yards on 141 carries (6.4-yard average) with three TDs.
Statement from Andrew Harris
Throughout my four years playing here in Winnipeg, I have been drug-tested more than any other player on our team to the point that it has become a running joke within our locker room. This year alone I’ve been tested three times: The first time on March 1, 2019 in the off-season, followed by July 2nd (blood and urine samples), and finally 10 days later on July 12 through a urine sample.
Somehow on July 12, just ten days after a test that came back completely clean, I was notified that I had tested positive for the first time in my career with very small trace of a banned substance. I’m still in shock and disbelief at the news. I immediately thought there had to be some kind of mistake.
The timeline makes it very clear — I was not using a banned substance for performance-enhancing purposes, nor was I aware that I was taking any supplements with any banned substances in them. Based on the fact pattern, this is clearly a case of product contamination.
Nonetheless, I am devastated by the idea of missing two important games with my teammates. More importantly, I want football fans and young athletes around this country to know that I have not and would never cheat. People know my history and my background, and I have always taken tremendous pride in having overcome adversity through sheer force of will. I would never risk my career and the respect of my teammates, coaches and the fans in this manner.
I am told that this substance typically can stay in the body for up to four weeks, so trace amounts in my system 10 days after testing cleanly makes it clear that I did not purposefully ingest any banned substance.
I’ve spent countless hours of training, running, studying, rehabbing, succeeding and failing, and have put in blood sweat and tears to get to where I stand today. My road to becoming a starter in the CFL was extremely difficult, and I take a lot of pride in the honest blue-collar work I’ve put in to reach this point in my career. This is why this announcement is very difficult for me.
I’ve worked very hard to get to where I am, and I pride myself on being not only a great role model to my daughter and youth throughout our country, but to my peers as well. As unsettling and painful as this is to me and my family, I hope this can be a helpful reminder to all athletes about being extremely cautious and aware of what they are taking and putting into their bodies.
I’m very sorry to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for this unexpected result, and I can’t wait to rejoin my teammates and the city of Winnipeg in our quest to bring a Grey Cup to this wonderful city that I am fortunate enough to call home. Thank you.