Injuries taking toll on Calgary Stampeders OL Edwin Harrison

The football gods have not been kind to Stamps' Edwin Harrison. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI Agency)

The football gods have not been kind to Stamps' Edwin Harrison. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI Agency)

SCOTT MITCHELL, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:17 AM ET

CALGARY - Edwin Harrison is fighting for his job.

The problem is, he can’t even get into the ring to take a swing — and it’s eating away at the Calgary Stampeders veteran offensive tackle.

His latest malady — a calf injury suffered during one-on-one drills in the opening week of training camp — has Harrison wondering what’s next.

“When you work towards something the majority of your life, it’s just hard to see that wash away or kind of almost fade away,” an emotional Harrison said Thursday.

“It seems like it’s getting harder and harder to really get to where I want to be.

“It just seems like no matter what you do, you keep getting the same results.”

Heading into his fourth CFL season, the 28-year-old is no stranger to the training room.

Knee injuries, ankle sprains and a torn pectoral muscle have all sidelined Harrison at various points during his tenure north of the border.

It’s wearing on the affable 6-foot-4, 308-pounder.

“I’m a competitor. I want to be out on the football field. I want to play,” Harrison said.

“My makeup isn’t to just be on the team and just kind of hold a spot — hold a roster spot, put on a jersey and come out here to practice and just do my deal — I want to play.

“With me, it always seems like it’s something,” Harrison continued.

“It’s really frustrating because there’s really nothing I can do to change my situation or change my body.

“I did everything I could — I lost weight coming into this season, trying to cut down some fat and my wife got me eating like a rabbit back at home, just trying different things to try to stay healthy through a complete season.

“I really can’t even put into words how upset I’ve been and frustrated.”

Throughout the conversation, the talk, more than once, reverts back to the sheer number of offensive linemen in camp — 14 including Harrison — and the reality of the numbers game.

“It’s really a credit to (the organization) to have stuck by me and have faith in me like they have,” Harrison said.

“You don’t see that too often.

“You kind of feel like you owe them something, that their investment will pay off.”

Harrison’s injury issues haven’t been the result of bad conditioning or anything else under the Houston native’s control, says offensive line coach Mike Gibson.

“For whatever reason, the football gods haven’t been good to him with his injuries and everything,” Gibson said, shaking his head.

“I know he’s frustrated, you can see it, because he just wants to be out there.

“In the meetings, he’s very attentive and he knows what to do.

“He’s trying to help the guys who are in there right now, and that’s a professional for you.

“Those guys are fighting, maybe for his spot, and he’s helping them along.

“He’s just a good man.

“At some point in time, you hope the gods turn around and start being in his favour.”

Harrison is hoping to return for next week’s pre-season game in Regina, but the finicky muscle-pull may not allow for that. It’s day-by-day, at this point.

If he is able to get back to full health before the start of the season, the question becomes, is Harrison still one of the best seven or eight linemen on the roster?

“He’s proven it over time that he’s one of the best,” Gibson said.

“Maybe the jury’s still out because of the injuries ... has he lost something?

“Has he not lost something?

“Me, personally, I don’t think he has, but we’ve all gotta see it.

“He’s gotta see it. Maybe more importantly, he’s gotta prove to himself that he can stay healthy.”

scott.mitchell@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/SUNMitchell


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