Blue Bombers’ Andrew Harris suspended after positive drug test

The Canadian Football League has suspended Winnipeg Blue Bombers star running back Andrew Harris for two games after he tested positive for a banned substance.

“I’m still in shock and disbelief at the news. I immediately thought there had to be some kind of mistake,” Harris said in a statement released Monday morning.

“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.”

The Bombers football club said it fully supports the CFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs and has fully co-operated with the CFL.

“The Winnipeg Football Club also supports Andrew Harris through this extremely difficult and unfortunate situation. We look forward to Andrew rejoining us on the field,” a statement from the team said.

Neither the league nor the team has revealed the nature of the substance.

Tested many times

“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,” Harris, 32, said in his statement.

“This year alone I’ve been tested three times: The first time on March 1, 2019, in the off-season, followed by July 2 (blood and urine samples), and finally 10 days later on July 12 through a urine sample.

“Somehow on July 12, just 10 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.”


Andrew Harris, seen running the ball for a touchdown against the Toronto Argonauts earlier this season, said he want football fans and young athletes around the country to know he would never cheat. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Harris said he was not using a banned substance for performance-enhancing purposes, nor was he aware he was taking any supplements with any banned substances in them.

“This is clearly a case of product contamination,” he said.

“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.”

The all-star is in his 10th CFL season and is leading the league in rushing yards. He won the past two rushing titles and no Winnipeg tailback has ever claimed three straight.

Earlier this month, he solidified his spot in the CFL record book by becoming the all-time CFL leader among Canadian players for yards from scrimmage and also made it into the league’s top 10 all-time rushing list.

“As someone who has coached Andrew for four seasons now, I know first-hand the hard work and dedication he puts into his career as a true professional,” Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea said in a statement from the team.

“While this is an extremely unfortunate situation, I support Andrew and look forward to his return in a few weeks.”

Harris said he spends countless hours training, running, studying and putting in “blood sweat and tears” to be in condition to play his top game.

“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,” his statement says.

“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.”

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