Kenny Lawler knows his actions on Oct. 4 could've cost him his football career.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers receiver, one of the breakout stars of this season, was arrested after getting into a single-vehicle accident while drunk.
It's not excusing Lawler for the mistake he made, but his actions following the arrest said a lot about him. He immediately informed the Bombers of what had happened and wasted no time apologizing to the organization, his teammates, fans, the community, and of course, his family. Lawler didn't blame anyone but himself and faced the consequences head on.
"When something like that happens you could easily be cut," Lawler said after Thursday's closed practice at IG Field. "... I was grateful and thankful for everyone that had my back during that time and it really meant a lot to me for the coaches to still have confidence in me and still want to call my number."
Lawler ended up receiving a one-game suspension. He hasn't let what happened derail his season, or his mindset, as he finished the year as the CFL's receiving yardage leader at 1,014 yards. He's the first Bomber to accomplish that feat since Milt Stegall did it in 2002.
"When I look back at the season, I see a lot of adversity. For me personally, I’m thankful for it because I believe going through that made me a better, stronger person, a father, everything," said Lawler. "Sometimes I feel like I wouldn’t be here without the lessons that I’ve learned in the season. In a weird way, I’m grateful."
His teammates were more than disappointed to hear that Lawler got behind the wheel that night (thankfully no one was hurt), but they respect the way he's handled himself since.
"I've had a brother who crashed his car under the influence. It's bigger than just one person and I think that woke (Lawler) up to that fact," said Bombers receiver Drew Wolitarsky.
"... There's people who are counting on you beside yourself. You have to make decisions that are good for you, but mostly because they're good for your family, your friends, etc. I think he grew up a lot and he's taking more responsibility after seeing that support. He's really bought into this image of team and unity. We showed him that it's alright to make mistakes."
Lawler, a 27-year-old University of California product, can't change the past, but he can do everything in his power to try to end this season on a positive note. The Bombers host the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday for the West Division crown and Lawler, the go-to target for quarterback Zach Collaros, will need to be at his best.
"When we play as a collective unit and play for the person next to us, we know we're unstoppable," Lawler said.
"We know we can just go out there and no matter what the call is, we're gonna get it done."
Andrew Harris update
Running back Andrew Harris was a full participant Wednesday. Thursday's practice was closed to the media and head coach Mike O'Shea said afterward Harris was limited.
Harris has been out of action since Week 11 with a knee injury.
"It always depends on the next day, how he feels, how he makes out through the night, what he shows up like with Al (Couture, head athletic therapist) and Brayden (Miller, strength and conditioning coordinator) looking at him," said O’Shea.
"That’s the way it always boils down. When a guy’s day-to-day and limited you check on him every single day and see if there’s any progress."
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.