OTTAWA – Trevor Harris knows there will come a day when he won’t agonize over losing the Grey Cup, but for now it haunts him in his sleep.
“I’ve had dreams both nights I’ve gone to sleep that it’s half time again and I got insanely overjoyed because ten points is nothing and we’re going to come back and win this,” the Ottawa quarterback told reporters Tuesday morning as the Redblacks cleaned out their lockers. “Both times I’ve woken up and it’s hurt worse. I’m assuming I’ll continue to have dreams like that, but it hurts because it means so much.”
The Redblacks were defeated 27-16 by the Calgary Stampeders Sunday night in Edmonton in the 106th edition of the CFL championship game. While the loss still stings, Harris is already thinking about next season.
Harris is set to hit free agency, but is hopeful to reach an agreement with the Redblacks on a contract extension.
“I don’t plan to enter free agency and find who the highest bidder is,” Harris said. “When I came here in 2016 I took less than what I was offered elsewhere. I’d like to finish my career here if I could.”
Harris signed a one-year deal shortly after last season ended, but with labour uncertainty at the forefront with the collective bargaining agreement expiring the day before the 2019 training camps open, the 32-year-old is unsure how things will proceed.
“It’s tough with the CBA, that’s kind of the hang-up with everything,” Harris said. “The sooner we can get the CBA done the better for both sides. I think it’s best for the players, best for the organization and the league most importantly. Hopefully we can get that done and I think once that gets done we can get the ball moving on that.”
Redblacks general manager Marcel Desjardins says he has just over 30 free agents to make decisions on and is hopeful some players will be willing to sign despite pending status of the CBA.
“I’m still going to try to move forward and try to get some guys to sign prior to anything being ratified and I hope I’m able to get as many of those guys done as possible,” Desjardins said. “If guys that we want back are willing to sign contracts now then that’s something that we would be very interested in getting done.”
Desjardins admitted signing his quarterback will be a priority.
Harris believes the Redblacks have the pieces in place to become a perennial contender and is hopeful he can convince others to remain in Ottawa as well.
“Keeping this team together is vital for myself. I love these guys and I love this team. I think we made some strides and I think we could go on quite a run if we could keep this together. If that means sacrificing with certain things then we’ve got to do it.”
Receivers Greg Ellingson and Diontae Spencer are also set to hit free agency, as is running back William Powell, who all played a key role in Ottawa finishing 11-7 and first in the East.
It appears the Redblacks and Jon Gott will part ways. The 33-year-old offensive lineman has been with Ottawa since its inaugural 2014 season, but expects to hit free agency after being a healthy scratch for much of the second half of the season.
“I don’t know if I can come back again to be a back-up when I can still play,” said Gott, who did not dress for both playoffs games. “It’s tough. I wish I could just stay here and finish my career.”
The Redblacks will also need to make a decision on SirVincent Rogers. The offensive lineman is set to hit free agency, and with a young family to think about security is a high priority for the veteran.
“(The CBA) is affecting all of the players right now,” Rogers said. “We really don’t know what’s going to happen with the new CBA and how everything is going to work out. I think most players, because of the uncertainty, are just trying to wait and get the right approach. It’s a big question mark for all players that are free agents.”
© 2018 The Canadian Press