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Mike Harris forced to grow up fast

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Blue Bolt, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Gaither's injury opens door for undrafted Harris at left tackle

    SAN DIEGO ---- Just his luck a one-time USC star with impressive NFL credentials was there to greet him.

    "First play of the game Clay Matthews is lining up against me,'' the Chargers' Mike Harris said. "Man, coming into camp I had no idea I would be first-string right now.''

    Welcome to the here-and-now of the NFL, and yes, that's a long way from UCLA.

    Harris kind of grins and bears it.

    "I'm going to be ready to play because the coaches and the vets are counting on me,'' Harris said, although he admits the obvious. "Left tackle is a very hard position to play.''

    Hard knocks hit the Chargers when Jared Gaither's balky back lasted all of one camp practice. Unable to work since, Gaither is getting a second opinion for an ailment that doesn't lend itself to playing 16 NFL games.

    The Chargers are ambiguous on what his problem is and his return date. In training camp jargon, that translates into, "Uh-oh!''

    Enter Harris. And that first name again? Mike, that's right.

    There are story lines at many turns at Chargers Park, but one can't ignore the 6-foot-5, 318-pound Harris.

    That Harris, an undrafted rookie initially wrestling for a paycheck, is protecting the Chargers' $90 million man in quarterback Philip Rivers isn't class warfare. It's classic training camp fodder of the summer underdog finding the brightest of fall spotlights.


    "No doubt we want Jared back as soon as possible,'' said Rivers, without peeking around his blindside. "But Mike is doing a nice job.''

    Still, two of Rivers' foundations in erecting his passing game have wobbled.

    Any quarterback embraces a consistent running game, and Chargers running back Ryan Mathews busted his collarbone and could be out six weeks.

    And a stout left tackle is required to keep harm's way out of the pocket to allow Rivers to fling it.

    Gaither, the replacement for Pro Bowler Marcus McNeill, felt a spasm at the first practice and the pain stretched across the offense.

    The Chargers know about injuries up front ---- see 2011 ---- and realize the snaps must go on.

    We're sorry, you said Mike?

    Harris landed in San Diego after watching a silent phone during the draft. When the Chargers dialed and offered an unlikely trek to the Promised Land, Harris bit.

    Noticing the Chargers didn't draft tackles, Harris traded UCLA blue for the Chargers' version.

    Instead of preparing for an opener against Rice, Harris gets a San Francisco Bay Area treat in Oakland.

    Harris got his first NFL taste in last Thursday's preseason win over Matthews and the Packers.

    "The guys are a lot faster and a lot more athletic,'' Harris said. "I've got to match that athleticism and just play physical. I'm playing against grown men out there now.''

    Harris does so supported by Rivers, which causes pinch-me moments in the huddle.

    "It means the world to me because I got a guy like Philip Rivers, a Pro Bowler, doing that,'' Harris said. "I grew up watching him on TV and now look at me: I'm protecting his blindside.''

    That means, oh, about everything.

    "I have his livelihood in my hands,'' Harris said.

    Harris' mitts will be full Saturday against the Cowboys and pass-rushing dynamo DeMarcus Ware. Both first teams are expected to play about a half ---- or a half more than Harris ever envisioned.

    "I just use my size to my advantage and I love to work hard,'' he said. "It's a team game, and I love being out there with my teammates because you can't win without the other players on the field.''

    Last year, he was UCLA's strong-side tackle, playing both sides in its pistol offense. That gave him the versatility the NFL usually craves.

    Now he wants those other squads to chow crow.

    "I can't really harp on why I didn't get drafted; it didn't happen,'' Harris said. "I'm just going to prove those other 31 teams wrong that Mike Harris is a guy that they should have picked up.''

    Hopefully, not picked on.

    "It's a lot of responsibility,'' he said. "I know the older guys are counting on me. I just have to get better and grow up fast.''
  2. Blue Bolt

    Blue Bolt Persona Non Grata

    Oct 28, 2009
    Michael Gehlken@UTgehlken
    Spoke briefly with Jared Gaither. 6-foot-9 tackle was short. Slowly getting better. "That's the way I like to think. Yeah. Getting better."
  3. SuperCharger92

    SuperCharger92 Winners Win

    Sep 25, 2011
    Harris will be tested Saturday against Ware! We'll see how that goes lol
  4. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

    Aug 12, 2006
    Really pulling for this guy Harris. Would be incredible if he makes it and ends up being a real good Left Tackle. Seems like a great kid to boot.

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

    Jul 11, 2006
    Harris has nothing to lose and a heck of a lot to gain.
  6. ChargerJeff

    ChargerJeff Boltaholic

    Mar 24, 2008
    A very few times in our life we are given an opportunity that may chenge the rest of our life depending on how we react at that moment. Harris has been given that opportunity, and for his sake - and Rivers sake - I hope he is up to the challenge and is able to succeed.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. matilack

    matilack Take A Knee McCree!!!

    Aug 14, 2006
    In the interview the kid seems either nervous, or highly aware of the magnitude of his situation...or both.

    I really hope this guy is the real deal, I'm losing faith in Gaither by the day. And even if Gaither comes back and plays well Harris could be an excellent backup...or possibly high draft pick worthy trade bait.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Sydalish

    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

    Nov 11, 2007
    How comforting. ntman68 brought it up on the twittah - it's pretty concerning that we're not hearing much of anything about this "injury" besides that he got a second opinion (smart man - f chao) and he's slowly getting better... :sick:
  9. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

    Please football jesus keep PR healthy.
  10. Enormo

    Enormo BoltTalker

    Jul 22, 2007
    Not a chance. Football Jesus is really pulling for Clipboard Jesus.
  11. AnteaterRaider

    AnteaterRaider Carpe Diem et omni Mundio Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

    Jan 19, 2006
    Why are you guys praying to Tebow??

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