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Tommie Harris

Harris at a promotional event in Chicago.
No. 91     Chicago Bears
Defensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: April 29, 1983 (1983-04-29) (age 26)
Place of birth: Killeen, Texas
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) Weight: 295 lb (134 kg)
Career information
College: Oklahoma
NFL Draft: 2004 / Round: 1 / Pick: 14
Debuted in 2004 for the Chicago Bears
Career history
 As player:
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 16, 2009
Tackles     199
Sacks     27.0
INTs     1
Stats at NFL.com

Tommie Harris, Jr. (born April 29, 1983 in Killeen, Texas) is an American football defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Bears 14th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. He played college football at Oklahoma.

Harris is a two-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowl selection.

Contents

Early years

Harris was raised in Killeen, Texas, and attended Ellison High School. As a member of the Ellison Eagles, Harris became one of the nation's top defensive high school prospects, including being ranked as the 35th best high school prospect in the nation by recruiting analyst Tom Lemming[1]. In the 1998 football season he was a starting defensive tackle in his freshman year for the Eagles who were ranked 1st in the state of Texas and 3rd in the nation. He participated on Ellison' track and field team, where he participated in the shotput.

College career

As one of the nation's top defensive prospects, Harris was pursued by many elite schools, but finally decided to attended the University of Oklahoma. He was a silent leader on and off the field leading by example. He is one of the very few players in OU history to start every game of his true freshman season. 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.

Harris turned down the Playboy All-America Team photo shoot in 2002. When asked about it in Sports Illustrated he said: "I have four sisters and no interest in promoting Hugh Hefner's agenda. What would I be saying by being in that magazine? That I'm poor and am looking for publicity? That I like girls in swimsuits? I don't even like pornography."[2]

Professional career

Harris was the 14th pick of the 2004 NFL draft out of University of Oklahoma.

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 first time for the 2006 Pro Bowl. Harris is ideally suited to coach Lovie Smith's version of the Tampa 2 defense, which relies on quick, agile linemen to get pressure on the quarterback. Harris' play has earned him comparisons to the young Warren Sapp, who rose to prominence in a similar defensive scheme.

Harris enjoyed an excellent start to the 2006 season, leading the league with 5 sacks after 4 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 their 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 thirteen 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.[3]

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 an a significant decrease 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 preseason's finale against the Cleveland Browns. He played in the Bears' season opener against the San Diego Chargers, and forced a pivotal (and controversial) fumble.[4] As of 11/8/07 he lead all NFL defensive tackles with 7 sacks, which is a career high.

On June 19, 2008, Tommie signed a contract extension with the Chicago Bears for $40 million over 4 years. It also includes a $8.5 million Pro Bowl bonus which he will receive if he makes it to the Pro Bowl in 2008, 2009, and 2010. He can make 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. [5] That salary has since been surpassed by Albert Haynesworth's.

Harris' role with the Bears has decreased since he injured his knee in the 2007 season, during a week three game against the Dallas Cowboys.[6] The injury has hampered his performance through out portions of the 2008 season, and into the 2009 season.[6] Nevertheless, Harris recorded eight sacks in 2007 despite starting in 13 games that season. Harris has registered six tackles 2.5 sacks, and one interception. On November 8th 2009, Harris was ejected just 65 seconds into the first quarter in a game against the Arizona Cardinals for punching Offensive Guard Deuce Lutui in the face. He later apologized for the incident.

References

External links

Achievements
Preceded by
Michael Haynes &
Rex Grossman
Bears 1st round draft pick
2004
Succeeded by
Cedric Benson







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