NFL: Harris flap runs deep
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    Harris flap runs deep

    America knows Harris loves his wife, his alma mater, Cam Newton and Bible verses from the Book of Jeremiah. Harris routinely provides compelling social commentary and dispenses self-help wisdom, tweeting with the frequency of a Guillen.

    Typically Harris keeps sharp opinions on team issues to himself but, last week, hinted at a difference in accountability for Bears players who play offense and defense.

    He didn't invoke the name of Frank Omiyale but that was the first one that came to my mind. Omiyale hasn't been inactive the past two seasons despite being arguably the worst offensive lineman in the NFL whereas Harris lost his job after one bad game against the Lions.

    So a day after the Bears' 39-10 win over the Vikings in which Harris was inactive, I asked if he had tweeted his way out of favor and, potentially, out of town if his agent can find a trade partner.

    "I don't think my tweets had anything to do with it but I don't know,'' Harris said Monday over the phone. "None of this is personal. Just business. I have the utmost respect for the Bears. Maybe there's a team out there who might want me. Not saying the Bears don't. They are just going a different direction. No hard feelings.''

    There is nothing hard about the Bears' next move either. If Harris means as little to the Bears as their actions imply, just cut him.

    Allowing Harris to seek a trade — as Jerry Angelo did — merely approved a fool's errand. Why would any team give up even a seventh-round draft pick for a player the Bears devalued by mysteriously omitting from Sunday's 46-man game-day roster? Especially one who has only 10 games left on his contract.
    Harris' continued presence in Chicago only will serve as a reminder of how wide the gap between players and management has grown. From the weekly sniping over Matt Forte's contract extension that isn't coming to Lance Briggs' preseason money grab to Harris' latest request for a trade, 2011 already has become a year of player dissent at Halas Hall. Not even a 29-point victory could quell it. Skepticism runs so rampant that it came as no surprise last week when a Bears player privately questioned Angelo for not addressing the offensive line.

    Now, the longer Harris stays the more he will remind everybody just how indecisive the Bears remain at the bugaboo position for Lovie Smith.

    Two days before Harris was scheduled to return from a hamstring injury to play the Lions, Smith said this: "We need him. We've missed him back there.'' Two days after Harris looked rustier than an '89 Corolla giving up big plays against the Lions, Smith benched the safety he missed so much.

    And you thought Marion Barber's flip was the hardest one to explain this season.

    "They felt like they needed to shake some things up,'' Harris said. "It is a contract year for me and if they are moving on then why not play Chris and Major?''

    Starting Conte and Wright is fine. Thinking Craig Steltz and Brandon Meriweather provided better insurance than Harris against injury or ineffectiveness isn't.

    Smith reiterated Monday how comfortable he felt about making Harris inactive. He introduced the idea that Harris' hamstring contributed to the decision, even if Harris dismissed that notion.

    Pressed after Sunday night's win why practice-squad player Anthony Walters was in uniform but not Harris, Smith cited special-teams needs. That didn't explain choosing Meriweather over Harris. On the day Meriweather signed, special teams coordinator Dave Toub said Meriweather didn't play special teams. So what gave him the nod over Harris? Follow the money.

    The Bears signed Meriweather for $3.25 million. So far, the only people happy about that investment are the folks at NFL Charities who benefit from the fines Meriweather has incurred leading with his helmet.

    Harris possesses less athleticism but uses his head for more constructive purposes. A player with his smarts and savvy still has value in a Bears secondary lacking both. A sudden fall from grace says more about the Bears than it does Harris.



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    Re: Harris flap runs deep

    I was not surprised to see Harris benched considering he was ineffective and hurt. Both Harris and Meriweather were terrible. Lovie is one of the most player friendly Coaches and loyal to a fault. He earned being inactive. Shouldn't be happy about it, but I don't think anyone is surprised. Get on the practice field and earn your job back.

    Now, if you start complaining about Angelo being an %^&. You have something there.....


    “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”
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