Fans will likely have mixed memories about Tommie Harris' career with the Chicago Bears. Drafted 14th overall in the 2004 Draft, Harris started his career off solidly, posting 6.5 sacks and starting all 32 regular season games in his first two seasons. Harris made three straight Pro Bowls from '05 to '07, which naturally left fans and pundits thinking that he was poised to really dominate in his mid 20s. Well, Harris saw his productivity dip, particularly the last two seasons when he registered just 1.5 and 2.5 sacks respectively.
The Harris era in Chicago is now over after the former Oklahoma product signed a free agent deal to play alongside Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney in Indianapolis. On Wednesday, Harris joined Waddle & Silvy on ESPN Radio in Chicago (audio begins at 1:19:00 mark)to chat about his decision to sign in Indy, his time in Chicago and why he thinks Chicago can win with Jay Cutler at quarterback.
How healthy is he after being nagged by injuries in recent years:
"I’ve learned a lot from this whole Chicago experience. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut and I can show you better than I can tell you."
How much the injuries have affected him:
"Most definitely but I find a way to get my job done. When you have this opportunity, and I’m so fortunate for this lockout, to have this opportunity to see what you really can get done in about six months that we really had off, I’m confident to see how I’m gonna do out there."
How he would summarize his time in Chicago:
"Great. I lived and I learned. It was like going through school. Through first to 12th grade. You saw my good, my bad, my ugly, and I would always wonder when I see guys like Mushin Muhammad and all these different players come to the facility from different teams and I always wondered have these guys always been like this or do you get a fresh opportunity to start all over? I’m looking forward to it and I thank the Bears for the opportunity. I have nothing bad to say about those guys. That organization is a great organization, my teammates, I love those guys and I just look forward to hopefully one day coming back up there and playing with you guys."
Whether or not Jay Cutler can be the leader of the Bears at QB:
"Yeah he can. Jay could be the leader of the offense. Before you even saw Jay come to the Bears, Jay is a monster. Playing Jay through our scouting report you knew that guy could do anything. He can run, he can throw, and the sky is the limit for Jay. It just takes him a while to really warm up to people and there’s nothing wrong with that. People can judge all they want about the guy but I feel like he’s a good guy."