Harris was signed quickly after CFL free agency opened at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning after it was confirmed that quarterback Mike Reilly would be leaving for the B.C. Lions.
Harris promised Eskimos fans they can expect aggressive play.
“We want to win now and we want to bring a Grey Cup back to this city immediately. And that’s something I want to be a part of because that’s something I want in my career.”
WATCH BELOW: Newly acquired Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Trevor Harris said he is elated and excited to join the team. He looks forward to bringing a Grey Cup “back to the City of Championships.”
The 2019 season will be Harris’ eighth in the CFL. He began as a much-talked-about backup in 2012 and emerged to start 17 games with the Toronto Argonauts, including 16 in the 2015 season.
There, he worked with current Eskimos head coach Jason Maas when Maas was the quarterback coach for the Argos.
“I look forward to joining him and just raising the bar together.”
WATCH BELOW: New Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Trevor Harris said he’s looking forward to working with head coach Jason Maas, who was his first CFL quarterbacks coach.
Harris then joined the Ottawa Redblacks as a free agent for the 2016 season and worked in tandem with Henry Burris, helping the Redblacks to a Grey Cup Championship his first year. He took over for Burris as the full-time starter in 2017.
The history in Ottawa was tough to leave behind, Harris said. The 32-year-old described the emotions of free agency as “difficult.”
“You tie yourself to a city, you embed yourself in the culture of a city and the fans and a lot of you – I grew up so much there,” he said. “I started as just a spot duty backup and I ended up becoming a franchise guy and we ended up going to a Grey Cup.
“A lot of that is tough to leave behind but at the same time I couldn’t be more elated. To say that I’m viciously motivated and excited to be here would be a massive understatement.”
WATCH BELOW: New Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Trevor Harris said when the option to join the team came up, the decision was a no-brainer.
Harris isn’t the only member of the Redblacks to be making the move to Edmonton. Lineman SirVincent Rogers and wide receiver Greg Ellingson were both signed to two-year deals.
“We’re not Redblacks anymore, we’re Edmonton Eskimos and we’re elated to be here,” Harris said.
Harris started 42 of the 44 games he played while in Ottawa.
The best season of Harris’ career came in 2018 when he led the league in both completions, with 431, and completion percentage at 70.1 per cent. He was one of four quarterbacks in the CFL to throw for 5,000 yards, finishing with a career best 5,116.
WATCH BELOW: Edmonton Eskimos head coach Jason Maas said fans should look forward to a great season.
Since his signing, there have been comparisons between Reilly and Harris and the conversation has largely centred on Harris replacing Reilly. Eskimos general manager Brock Sunderland has had enough of it.
“The reality is there were two quarterbacks in the Grey Cup last year and was one of them,” Sunderland said. “So I think it’s about time that we shed the theory that Trevor’s replacing people – he led a franchise to a Grey Cup.
“So for me, enough talk about who he’s replacing. Trevor is Trevor.”
Sundlerland also pointed out that, while the Eskimos were busy when free agency opened, much of the offence is familiar.
“Not only is Trevor immensely talented and a great person, it’s the same system so I think we have a great opportunity to start fast.”
Harris said he and Maas hadn’t had time to really get into strategy yet, but Maas called the addition of Harris, and all the new players, the “best case scenario.”
“When we were figuring out what Mike was going to do and got word that he was going to leave and we started looking at the plans and figuring out who’s going to quarterback here next year, Trevor’s name came up and it was, ‘If he becomes a free agent, that’s the guy to go after and get.’”
WATCH BELOW: As soon as they knew Mike Reilly was leaving, the Edmonton Eskimos said they immediately went after quarterback Trevor Harris.
It won’t be long before fans see a faceoff between Reilly and his former team. The B.C. Lions will be at Commonwealth Stadium on May 26 for the first game of the preseason. The two clubs face off for the first time in the regular season during Week Two when the Lions come to town again on June 21.
– With files from Morley Scott, 630 CHED
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