The Winnipeg Blue Bombers returned to the practice field after two days off as they put the Edmonton Elks in the crosshairs ahead of Saturday’s matchup in the Alberta capital.
The Bombers hit the field with a possible suspension looming over running back Andrew Harris, after the Banjo Bowl brawl in the second quarter against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“Any teammate I’m gonna want to stand up (for),” said Harris. “But Demski’s a pretty close buddy of mine off the field as well. And I saw him getting tossed, so I was gonna go and defend my teammates. Obviously, maybe took it a little far, but it is what it is. Things flare up and tensions rise.
“My Twitter feed was pretty backlogged there with a lot of funny, interesting comments, but that’s just how it is.”
A fine for Harris is probably more likely than a suspension, as suspensions for on-field infractions are fairly rare in the CFL. Typically, fines and suspensions are announced on Thursday or Friday of each week and the league has already been in contact with the Bombers to get their side of the story.
“Just kinda giving our stance on the whole situation,” said Harris. “There’s a few guys involved in that, so yeah, I’m sure we’ll hear in the next little while here what’s gonna happen from it.
“But the league is going to handle it how they want to handle it.”
Rookie kicker Marc Liegghio is expected to kick again this week, but has made just one of his last four field goal tries. And he also missed a pair of convert attempts in the Banjo Bowl.
Recent signing Ali Mourtada practiced with the team for the first time on Tuesday after completing his quarantine.
Mourtada is a 31-year-old journeyman that’s looking to seize the opportunity after bouncing around different leagues his entire career.
“A grind and a rollercoaster,” Mourtada said of his career. “For me, it was focus on what I can control and that was developing as an athlete, as a kicker, as a pro.
“Over time it’s a dream, and then it’s kinda just doing the work. That’s where the dream lives and I’ve come to just do the work and that’s where I’m comfortable, putting the time in and just executing when it’s time.”
Mourtada said he can make field goals from over 60 yards out. He attended mini-camp with the Washington Football Team of the NFL and had tryouts in the XFL. But more recently he’s played mainly in indoor leagues, so the strong prairie wind will be an adjustment.
And while he’s yet to stick long term with a pro team, he wouldn’t trade it for the world.
“I absolutely love it,” he said. “And if I was the last person on earth, I’d still be kicking.”
Considering it’s his first kick at the CFL, it’ll probably take a little more time to get comfortable with his surroundings and his new holder.
“Came with high praise from people that know what we’re looking for,” head coach Mike O’Shea said. “We’ve liked what we’ve seen and it was worthy of bringing him in and seeing what he can do.”
Mourtada was born in Sierra Leone, but immigrated to the United States as a youngster, leaving the country behind during a civil war.
“My father, he had brothers over here in Massachusetts going to university, going to college,” said Mourtada. “He picked us up as a family and thankfully, praise God, we were able to get over here safely.
“And he always preached to me — it’s an opportunity that I’ll have in the States that wouldn’t really present itself in Sierra Leone.”
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