Loyalty doesn’t guarantee a raise in the CFL

 

Andrew Harris wants to remain with Lions, but do they want him?

 
 
 
 
B.C. Lions running back Andrew Harris, left, jokes around with teammate Marco Lannuzzi at the team’s training facility in Surrey. Harris will be a free agent in February and would like to return to the Lions, but the two sides remain far apart on a new contract.
 

B.C. Lions running back Andrew Harris, left, jokes around with teammate Marco Lannuzzi at the team’s training facility in Surrey. Harris will be a free agent in February and would like to return to the Lions, but the two sides remain far apart on a new contract.

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

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Consider the case of a worker we’ll name Andrew, who started at an entry level job with the same company that employs him six years later.

That same company took the time to train him, promote him and now has turned him into one of the most skilled practitioners at his craft.

But as Andrew’s contract is coming to an end, and he feels he’s due a raise because of his elevated status and importance to the bottom line, the company starts to drag its feet. Andrew begins to wonder: “Do they really appreciate me?”

He thinks, “Maybe I should seek out other companies, and see what the demand for my services is really worth?”

The Andrew in question doesn’t work for Gizmo Inc., you might have guessed.

He’s running back Andrew Harris of the B.C. Lions, who may have played his last game for the B.C. Lions, which probably was a good advertisement for his services.

Harris had 79 rushing yards and another 28 on pass receptions Sunday, one of the few players who seemed engaged as the Lions bowed out ungracefully, 35-9, in the West Division semifinal against the Calgary Stampeders.

Without a contract for next season, along with a number of prominent Lions, including quarterback Travis Lulay, slotback Manny Arceneaux and right tackle Jovan Olafioye, Harris enters free agency in February, knowing he’s a well-rounded, above-average worker who, on occasion, wins the employee of the month award when his production excels.

“I’ve put a lot of work into this organization,” he says. “I’ve been here for a while. Lot of great memories. Lot of great games. Lot of great seasons. Again, I would love to be back here. But it’s got to make sense for my family, my life. I’ve got to make a decision as to where I want to stay.”

His employer, however, has earned a reputation in the industry for not unloosening the purse strings for model employees from other companies who are considering a change of scenery and eager for a new challenge.

Andrew’s company, in fact, enticed only one such individual in the past calendar year — not a marquee star, but a serviceable worker named Chris Rwabukamba, who didn’t really convince consumers to line up en masse for the organization’s product. Indeed, sales were down drastically this year. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the company’s malaise and ownership’s belief that if you erect a large edifice at public expense with a sign outside, noting — Football game, 7 p.m. — fans simply will come.

In Andrew’s mind, he’s been a loyal, model and productive employee. But it worries him that his loyalty might actually be used against him. The company might think he owes them something for all they’ve done for him — the hometown discount.

“I hope he (the general manager) doesn’t think that way,” Andrew says. “We were far apart at midseason. He might think differently now. I know where I’m at, what I think I’m going to get paid somewhere else. Basically, the ball’s in his court. I want to be a B.C. Lion. But it’s got to make sense for me.”

Even though, by contract law, Andrew can’t negotiate with other prospective employers for four months, he wants his current employee to know he’s going to Ace Hardware for a hammer — and he’ll use it, if he has to.

“I know, in free agency, there’ll be lots of teams interested,” he says.

Over the next few weeks, if his company won’t make him a decent offer during an exclusive negotiating period … well, a running back should know the fastest route to pay dirt.

mbeamish@vancouversun.com

Twitter.com/sixbeamers

 
 
 
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B.C. Lions running back Andrew Harris, left, jokes around with teammate Marco Lannuzzi at the team’s training facility in Surrey. Harris will be a free agent in February and would like to return to the Lions, but the two sides remain far apart on a new contract.
 

B.C. Lions running back Andrew Harris, left, jokes around with teammate Marco Lannuzzi at the team’s training facility in Surrey. Harris will be a free agent in February and would like to return to the Lions, but the two sides remain far apart on a new contract.

Photograph by: JONATHAN HAYWARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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