Blue Bombers sign 6 players in 1 day, including all-stars Harris, Medlock

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers signed six players on the first day of the CFL's free agency — including all-stars in running back Andrew Harris and placekicker Justin Medlock.

Ex-Ticats kicker is most accurate in CFL history

Andrew Harris is returning to his hometown to play with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers signed six players on the first day of the CFL's free agency — including all-stars in running back Andrew Harris and placekicker Justin Medlock.

The Bombers announced Tuesday they have signed a three-year deal with Harris, a two-time CFL all-star with the B.C. Lions. He is a born-and-raised Winnipegger and an alumnus of Oak Park High School.

The 28-year-old running back was the most outstanding Canadian in the 2011 Grey Cup, when he ran all over the Bombers and led his team to a 34-23 championship victory.

Justin Medlock, seen in this file photo celebrating a game-winning field goal against the Toronto Argonauts last season, will suit up in Blue Bombers colours in 2016. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)
Medlock, 32, broke into the CFL in 2009 with the Toronto Argonauts and made an immediate impact — hitting seven field goals in a single game, tying the Argonauts' team record and coming up one short of the CFL record of eight.

In September 2015, he earned the distinction of being the most accurate kicker in CFL history, making good on 166 of 190 attempts (87.4 per cent) over his five-year career in the league.

"They wanted me. I wanted to be there. I think it was a mutual thing," Medlock said of the Bombers on Tuesday.

"I don't think it was just one of those things that they just went above and beyond somebody else. I just think that we both kind of wanted it to work."

Bombers GM Kyle Walters called Medlock "a massive addition to our roster, and obviously in particular to our kicking game.

"His numbers throughout his career speak for themselves … and we're really excited to add him to our organization."

Twice named an East Division all-star, Medlock has spent time in the NFL as well as with the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos and Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Lirim Hajrullahu, who has been the Bombers' kicker for the past two seasons, wasn't offered a contract after struggling in 2015. In one particularly bad game in October, Hajrullahu missed four field goals and later apologized to fans.

Harris, who moved from Winnipeg to B.C. after high school, played junior football with the Vancouver Island Raiders, leading them to national championships in 2006, 2008 and 2009.

Along the way, he broke a number of British Columbia conference and CJFL records, including all-time touchdowns and scoring, and was named the most outstanding junior football player in the country in 2009.

He jumped straight to the CFL, skipping over the university ranks, by joining the Lions practice roster in 2009. Harris saw his first professional action in 2010 and before long was named the CFL's special teams player of the week.

He started the 2011 season as the backup running back but took over as the starter by mid-season.

Keith Shologan, seen in this file photo catching snowflakes during a practice in Calgary ahead of the Grey Cup, is now a Blue Bomber. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
The Bombers also announced the signing of defensive tackle Keith Shologan, who was with the Saskatchewan Roughriders from 2008-2013; receiver Ryan Smith, who had 72 catches for 1,150 yards and seven TDs over two seasons with the Riders; running back Pascal Lochard, who played with the B.C. Lions since being drafted in 2014; and offensive lineman Jeff Keeping, who has played in the league for 11 years and was named an all-star in 2013.

"Jeff adds a veteran leadership role to not only our offensive line group, but our entire locker room," Bombers' general manager Kyle Walters said in a statement. 

"He's a player who knows what it takes to win in this league, and is an asset for this organization both on and off the field."

A post-season veteran, Shologan has also played in three Grey Cup games, winning in 2013. He was named the most valuable Canadian in the 2010 championship game despite the Riders' loss to Montreal.

Since 2013 he had been with the Ottawa Redblacks, after being signed in the CFL expansion draft.

The latest moves further beef up the Bombers, who have been making several moves in the lead-up to the 2016 season.

Macho Harris, runs the ball for a touchdown after an interception against the Montreal Alouettes during a game last September. (Mark Taylor/Canadian Press)
In the past two weeks, the team has added two-time CFL all-star receiver Weston Dressler and defensive back Macho Harris.

Both were cut loose by the Saskatchewan Roughriders last month after Chris Jones stepped in as the new head coach and general manager.

Dressler has been a division all-star on four occasions, league all-star twice and was the CFL's most outstanding rookie in 2008.

Harris, who joined the Riders in 2012, has also played in the NFL for Philadelphia and Washington.

With files from The Canadian Press


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