Tommie Harris

Last updated

Tommie Harris
Tommie Harris.jpg
Harris in 2007
No. 91, 96, 90
Position: Defensive tackle
Personal information
Born: (1983-04-29) April 29, 1983 (age 37)
Killeen, Texas
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:295 lb (134 kg)
Career information
High school: Killeen (TX) Ellison
College: Oklahoma
NFL Draft: 2004  / Round: 1 / Pick: 14
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:226
Sacks:31.5
Forced fumbles:5
Fumble recoveries:7
Interceptions:1
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Tommie Harris, Jr. (born April 29, 1983) is a former American football defensive tackle who played eight seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Oklahoma, and was recognized as a consensus All-American twice. The Chicago Bears chose him in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft, and he also played a season for the San Diego Chargers. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection.

Contents

Early years

Harris was born in Germany and raised in Killeen, Texas. He attended Ellison High School in Killeen. As a member of the Ellison Eagles, Harris became one of the nation's top defensive high school prospects, including being ranked as the No. 35 high school prospect in the nation by recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. [1] During the 1998 football season, he was a back-up defensive tackle in his sophomore year for the Eagles who were ranked No. 1 in the state of Texas and No. 13 in the nation. He was also a member of Ellison's track and field team, where he participated in the shot put.

College career

While attending the University of Oklahoma, Harris played for coach Bob Stoops's Oklahoma Sooners football team from 2001 to 2003. He is one of the very few players in OU history to start every game of his true freshman season. He was a two-time All-Big 12 selection, and was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American in 2002 and a unanimous first-team All-American in 2003. [2] In his junior and final season as a Sooner, Harris won the Lombardi Award as the nation's best lineman in 2003. He was named to the Sports Illustrated All-Decade Team in 2009.

Professional career

2004 NFL Combine

Pre-draft measurables
HeightWeight 40-yard dash 10-yard split20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 3 in
(1.91 m)
295 lb
(134 kg)
4.68 s4.31 s31 in
(0.79 m)
9 ft 1 in
(2.77 m)
29 reps
All values from Central Florida Pro Day. [3]

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears selected Harris in the first round (14th overall pick) of the 2004 NFL Draft, and he played for the Bears from 2004 to 2010. In 2004, he finished second in balloting for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. In only his second NFL season, Harris was selected for the 2006 Pro Bowl for the first time. Harris was well suited for coach Lovie Smith's version of the Tampa 2 defense, which relies on quick, mobile linemen to get pressure on the quarterback.

Harris enjoyed an excellent start to the 2006 season, leading the league with five sacks after four games. He was instrumental in a Week 3 victory over the Vikings, disrupting a handoff in the Vikings backfield and forcing a fumble, which allowed the Bears to score the game-winning touchdown. Furthermore, Harris was awarded the NFC's "Player of the Week" award twice in three weeks. However, in the following weeks, Harris' productivity declined. Additionally, Harris was forced to leave the Bears' Week 13 match-up against the Vikings after sustaining a knee injury. Further medical review determined that Harris had severely injured his hamstring, and he missed the remainder of the 2006 season. [4]

Despite the injury, Harris was selected to play in the 2007 Pro Bowl, and appeared on the cover of the February issue of Sports Illustrated for Kids. Without Harris, the Bears noticed a significant decline in their pass rush and run defense. Though the Bears beat the New Orleans Saints to win the NFC Championship, the Indianapolis Colts beat the Bears in Super Bowl XLI.

Harris saw limited action throughout the subsequent preseason, and only made a brief return during the final game of the preseason against the Cleveland Browns. He played in the Bears' season opener against the San Diego Chargers and forced a fumble. [5] He finished 2007 with eight sacks and two forced fumbles. [6]

Harris, along with Adewale Ogunleye, Alex Brown and Mark Anderson during training camp in 2008 Bears-def-huddle-2008.jpg
Harris, along with Adewale Ogunleye, Alex Brown and Mark Anderson during training camp in 2008

On June 19, 2008, Harris signed a contract extension with the Chicago Bears for $40 million over four years. It also included a $8.5 million Pro Bowl bonus, which he would receive if he made it to the Pro Bowl in 2008, 2009, and 2010. He could've made an additional $2 million based on performance. It also included $17 million in guarantees and made Harris the highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL. [7] That salary has since been surpassed by Ndamukong Suh.

Harris at Manas Air Base Tommie Harris at Manas AB 080304-F-0232K-015.JPG
Harris at Manas Air Base

Harris' role with the Bears decreased since he injured his knee during a Week 3 game of the 2007 season. [8] The injury hampered his performance throughout portions of the 2008 season, and into the 2010 season. [8] Nevertheless, Harris recorded eight sacks in 2007 despite starting in 13 games that season. On November 8, 2009, Harris was ejected just 65 seconds into the first quarter in a game against the Arizona Cardinals for punching guard Deuce Lutui in the face. He later apologized for the incident. [9]

In 2010, Harris was benched after the second week of the season. [10] Head coach Lovie Smith stated, "We have 45 guys that you can go with; we have everybody healthy right now. Just felt like we wanted to get a look at Marcus Harrison, him and Henry Melton inside, a little bit. Just performance based. Tommie's been doing everything we've asked him to do. [10] " The same week, former defensive tackle Warren Sapp criticized Harris, comparing him to "blind dog in a meat house. [11] " Harris returned to the Bears the next week, but lost his starting position. He recorded his only sack of the season in week 17 against the Green Bay Packers.

On February 28, 2011, Harris, along with linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer and offensive tackle Kevin Shaffer, was released by the Bears. During his seven seasons with the Bears, Harris played in 104 games, recording 213 tackles and 28.5 sacks. [12]

Indianapolis Colts

On August 2, 2011, Harris signed a one-year contract with the Indianapolis Colts, but was released on September 3.

San Diego Chargers

Harris signed with the San Diego Chargers on September 28, 2011. That was his final season in the NFL.

Retirement

Harris decided to retire after his wife died in 2012. [13]

NFL statistics

YearTeamGPCOMBTOTALASTSACKFFFRFR YDSINTIR YDSAVG IRLNGTDPD
2004 CHI 164358153.5100000002
2005 CHI 16323753.0220000000
2006 CHI 12283465.0010000001
2007 CHI 16364158.0200000000
2008 CHI 14374145.0010000000
2009 CHI 15242952.5010166601
2010 CHI 15131741.5029000001
2011 SD 13131303.0000000000
Career1172261824431.5570166605

[14]

Post-retirement

Harris was the co-owner of the Texas Outlaws of the Fall Experimental Football League along with fellow NFL alum Eric Bassey. Harris also has a fitness center named in his honor, in Killeen, Texas. [15]

Personal

In 2012, Harris' wife Ashley died of a brain aneurysm after 41 days of marriage. [16]

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References

  1. Tom Lemming's Top 100 for 2001
  2. 2011 NCAA Football Records Book, Award Winners, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, p. 11 (2011). Retrieved June 23, 2012.
  3. nfldraftscout.com
  4. Bears make plans without Harris
  5. Wilson, Bernie (September 9, 2007). "San Diego 14, Chicago 3". Yahoo! Sports . Retrieved September 10, 2007.
  6. Espn.com
  7. Daily Herald | Bears reward Harris with $40M extension
  8. 1 2 McClure, Vaughn (October 23, 2009). "Tommie Harris 'doubtful' for Bengals game". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved October 24, 2009.
  9. Chicago Sun-Times | Tommie Harris-Deuce Lutui tussle began on play before ejection Archived December 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  10. 1 2 Jensen, Sean (September 28, 2010). "Bears deactivate Tommie Harris, bench Zack Bowman". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on October 1, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2011.
  11. "Tommie Harris can't even find the meat house now". NBC Sports. September 28, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2011.
  12. Hayes, Neil (March 1, 2011). "End of line for Bears' Tommie Harris". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
  13. "Tommie Harris Stats". ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  14. http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=8632