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Bombers have no deal with Andrew Harris as CFL free agency begins

If this is how it ends for number 33 in blue and gold, it was quite a run.

Andrew Harris’s arrival in Winnipeg in 2016 played a huge part in the turnaround for the Blue Bombers, who have made the playoffs all five years he has suited up for his hometown team.

Who could forget his stick-it-to-the-haters performance in the 2019 Grey Cup, helping the team snap a long title drought?

Read more: ‘A pretty easy process’ — With new contract done, Bombers’ Collaros focused on 3-peat

Or his return from injury in the 2021 west final, when he rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown en route to a second straight Grey Cup win?

It seems like those might be the last memories made in a Bombers uniform for Harris, who entered free agency Tuesday after being unable to agree to terms with the club.

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“Andrew and I spoke a few days ago. We couldn’t agree on a contract and we’ll see,” GM Kyle Walters said in a conference call Tuesday morning.

“I don’t know, I don’t have a crystal ball. I know Andrew’s done nothing but good things for this organization. Face of the franchise, local guy, been part of the success over the past few years. It’s obviously a very difficult situation.”

Harris suited up in only seven games in the 2021 regular season due to injury, but he ran for 623 yards in those seven games. He’s still productive and still wants to play football.

“It’s a sh—y part of the business,” Walters lamented. “This situation has been the most challenging as a GM, unquestionably. We’re talking about a Hall of Fame running back, the face of our franchise. It’s impossible not to be saddened by it. It’s a terrible situation, currently.”

In a call last month, Walters expressed doubt that the team could re-sign all three of its Canadian runningbacks from 2021. Brady Oliveira and Johnny Augustine have each since signed two-year extensions.

Read more: Winnipeg Blue Bombers agree to terms with two more pending CFL free agents

As part of the 20-minute call, Walters also expressed confidence that safety Brandon Alexander would be back with the club, shared that the Bombers would not be very active in free agency because there isn’t much money left to spend, and acknowledged it would have been impossible to match what Edmonton and B.C. were offering receiver Kenny Lawler, so they set their sights on Greg Ellingson.

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“Greg brings a veteran presence and we know that he and Zach (Collaros) have a relationship,” Walters said. “We expect him to come in and provide some stability and play that slotback position.”

Ellingson had 47 receptions for 687 yards and one touchdown in 10 games with Edmonton last year, ending a streak of five straight seasons of at least 1,000 yards receiving.

The Bombers have also said goodbye to receiver Darvin Adams after six seasons with the club. He has signed a deal with Ottawa.

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