The Winnipeg Blue Bombers released their team nominees for 2019 Most Outstanding Player awards Wednesday morning, and despite accolades for many deserving players, there was one glaring omission.
Bombers Running Back Andrew Harris, who set the CFL record as the all-time Canadian rushing leader this season, was passed over as the team’s Most Outstanding Canadian, in favour of fullback Mike Miller, who was also nominated as Most Outstanding Special Teams Player.
Miller said in a statement that Harris – who served a two-game suspension earlier this season after testing positive for an anabolic steroid called metandienone – deserved the Most Outstanding Canadian award.
After his suspension, Harris said the source must have been a contaminated over-the-counter men’s natural energy supplement he took. He has consistently maintained his innocence since the incident.
“It is my honour to be named the Most Outstanding Special Teams Player for the Bombers, but I feel I must speak out in support of Andrew Harris as our team’s Most Outstanding Canadian,” said Miller.
“Andrew is one of the true leaders on our team and one of the best players in the history of the Canadian Football League, and it is a shame he is not being recognized after such a sensational season.
“I will accept the Canadian nomination on Andrew’s behalf, but do so reluctantly and while completely disagreeing with his omission.”
Miller, who tied a CFL record for special teams tackles this summer, is joined by receiver Kenny Lawler (Most Outstanding Rookie), and Stanley Bryant, unanimously nominated as the Bombers’ Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman.
The team’s Most Outstanding Player nomination went to defensive end Willie Jefferson, who was also selected as the Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
In Jefferson’s first season as a Bomber, he set a new CFL record for pass knockdowns by a defensive lineman with 16. He also had a team-best 12 sacks, and six forced fumbles – also a league best.
The Most Outstanding Player Awards are voted on by members of the local chapter of the Football Reporters of Canada (FRC) and the league’s head coaches.