Cheryl says,”Tommie told me he’s feeling good!
He’s ready for a great year and I know it ‘absolutely… positively’ will be a major clutch year for him!”
Tear it up, Tommie! You are in our prayers, as always!
We love you.
Psalm 18:1-2, 20-42
In this July 30, 2006 file photo, Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris waves to fans during the team’s evening practice at football training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill. Harris says the talks that led to his four-year, $40 million contract with the Chicago Bears were businesslike and “classy.” Speaking at a news conference Friday June 20, 2008 at Halas Hall, the defensive tackle said he and Bears management kept negotiations private in reaching a deal that will keep him with Chicago through 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
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By NICK HUT – firstname.lastname@example.org
BOURBONNAIS – With Tommie Harris, it can be hard to pick which trait stands out the most.
Harris is earnest and passionate. After several of the Bears’ most disappointing losses last season, he was the one who went around the locker room telling various teammates to stay positive.
Harris is playful and witty. He knows when not to take his job too seriously, a rare trait indeed in the NFL.
Someone recently asked Harris about training camp, for example, probably expecting a stock answer about how it helps forge toughness and solidarity.
“You go from a nice big ol’ house to sharing showers and having stalls and having to see dudes’ feet underneath while you’re trying to handle your business,” Harris said. “Training camp is an amazing place to be, man.”
Harris is rich. He signed a $40 million contract extension last month that runs through 2012. The $10 million annual average of the deal is an NFL record for his position.
Most importantly to the Bears, Harris is a dominant defensive tackle. He merely needs to put together an entire season to prove it beyond any doubt.
“He’s healthy now, and he’s got a lot of things behind him,” coach Lovie Smith said. “He can just really concentrate on being the best defensive tackle in football. Who knows exactly how good he can be when he plays in a complete season? We’re expecting him to do that.”
Harris, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, was lights-out at the start of the past two seasons. Combine the first eight games of 2006 and 2007, and Harris had 30 solo tackles, 12 sacks and three tackles for a loss.
Those are premier numbers for a defensive tackle, a position where players usually settle for occupying blockers so the defensive ends and linebackers can make plays. Harris’ singular athleticism allows him to do that and more.
“He’s probably as good as there is in this league at his position,” defensive line coach Brick Haley said. “You just expect the guy to be good. We’re happy to have him.”
Harris has had a harder time during the second half of the past two seasons.
A severe hamstring tear knocked him out for the final four games and the playoffs in 2006. He was slowing down a bit even before the injury, going seven games without a sack.
In 2007, Harris said, an early-season sprained knee ligament caught up with him as the games progressed. He had only one of his eight sacks in the final eight games.
But Harris takes issue with the notion that he wears down as a season goes along.
“I get cheap-shotted” by opposing blockers, he said, which takes a toll on his lower body.
Harris said he feels as good now as he has since the ’06 preseason. He expects to start fast and, this time, stay that way.
“We’re very proud of Tommie,” general manager Jerry Angelo said. “He is one of our signature players – somebody who represents us very well not only on the football field, but off the football field.”
CHICAGO – DECEMBER 02, 2007: Tommie Harris #91 of the Chicago Bears prepares to face the New York Giants during warm-ups on December 2, 2007 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)