TORONTO - Richard Harris was a giant of a man — and not just because he stood 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds.
Prior to every game he’d go around and hug every starter and sub. Years afterwards, he’d still phone teammates, fellow coaches, even the guys he played against.
“My heart was broken ... he was always someone who’d give you a big hug,” said Hamilton head coach Marcel Bellefeuille Wednesday of news that Harris — the Blue Bombers assistant head coach and defensive line coach — had died of a heart attack.
“It’s crazy. I just talked to him two days ago,” said Ticats’ defensive end Stevie Baggs. “He called me ... I’m just thankful the last words I said to him were that I love him.
“If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be in the CFL. In 2006 and 2007 I was on the practice roster in Winnipeg and he was one of the only people who kept my head screwed on right because I was getting ready to get out ... making 400 bucks a week.
“He took me out to eat every day and talked about football and life. (This) was a real shock for me. But I know God doesn’t make mistakes.”