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Chris Harris Jr.
refer to caption
Harris with the Denver Broncos in 2012
No. 25 – Denver Broncos
Position: Cornerback
Personal information
Born: (1989-06-18) June 18, 1989 (age 28)
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight: 199 lb (90 kg)
Career information
High school: Bixby (OK)
College: Kansas
Undrafted: 2011
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2017
Total tackles: 413
Sacks: 3.5
Pass deflections: 73
Interceptions: 16
Forced fumbles: 5
Defensive touchdowns: 3
Player stats at NFL.com

Christopher Harris Jr. (born June 18, 1989) is an American football cornerback for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Kansas. He was signed by the Broncos as an undrafted free agent on July 27, 2011.

In his first season, Harris was named to the NFL All Rookie Team and achieved Breakout Player of the Year accolades. In 2015, Harris finished the season winning Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos over the Carolina Panthers, a season during which he was again selected as an All-Pro and chosen for the Pro Bowl. He is known for his off the field charitable activities, and in 2012, he started the Chris Harris Jr. Foundation to support children in need.[1]

Early years[edit]

Harris was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and attended nearby Bixby High School in Bixby, Oklahoma where he earned varsity letters in football, basketball, and track. Harris was named All-State in basketball and football as defensive his back senior year (2006) after helping the Spartans to the district title.

Harris was an all-metro first team selection after his junior and senior seasons. He earned all-state honorable mention honors as a junior. He collected 61 total tackles, four interceptions, and seven pass break-ups in 2006. Harris had 23 receptions for 839 yards during his senior campaign.

Harris helped lead Bixby High School to second place in the 2005 state football championship, coached by Pat McGrew. Harris was a member of the academic state champions teams in 2005 and 2006. Harris was named a 2006 leader (top 50 students at Bixby) by the Bixby Optimist Club.

College career[edit]

Harris played football in college at the University of Kansas, where he received numerous accolades and produced numbers that set him apart as one of the most successful defensive players in the history of Kansas football. By the end of his college career, Harris had landed himself at second place on the Kansas football all-time tackles list. He joined as a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity while in college.

Professional career[edit]

Harris was not one of the 54 defensive backs invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. On March 16, 2011, he attended Kansas State's pro day and performed all of the combine and positional drills. At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Harris was projected to go undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft. He was ranked the 30th best free safety prospect in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com.[2]

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP Wonderlic
5 ft 10 in
(1.78 m)
194 lb
(88 kg)
33 12 in
(0.85 m)
9 14 in
(0.23 m)
4.48 s 1.59 s 2.63 s 4.20 s 7.01 s 34 in
(0.86 m)
10 ft 1 in
(3.07 m)
14 reps N/A
All values from Pro Day[3]

2011[edit]

On July 27, 2011, the Denver Broncos signed Harris to a three-year, $1.39 million contract that included a signing bonus of $2,000.[4][5]

Throughout training camp, Harris competed for a roster spot against Perrish Cox, Chevis Jackson, Darcel McBath, Kyle McCarthy, and Syd'Quan Thompson.[6][7] He made the final roster after surviving final roster cuts and was named the fourth cornerback on the depth chart behind Champ Bailey, Andre Goodman, and Cassius Vaughn.[8]

He made his professional regular season debut in the Denver Broncos' season-opening 23-20 loss against the Oakland Raiders. The following week, he recorded two solo tackles during a 24-22 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals. Harris began receiving increased playing time after multiple injuries. In Week 4, Harris emerged as a possible future top cornerback prospect after replacing an ineffective Cassius Vaughn and making four combined tackles during a 49-23 loss at the Green Bay Packers.[9] Vaughn and Champ Bailey both suffered a hamstring injuries and Andre Goodman suffered a shoulder injury that required stitches.[10] On October 30, 2011, Harris earned his first career start after surpassing Vaughn and Goodman on the depth chart. He recorded nine combined tackles during the Broncos' 45-10 loss to the Detroit Lions. The next week, he made his second consecutive start and recorded a season-high 11 combined tackles and made his first career interception off Carson Palmer in a 38-24 victory at the Oakland Raiders. Harris finished his rookie season with a career-high 72 combined tackles (62 solo), six pass deflections, and one interception in 16 games and four starts.[11]

The Denver Broncos finished 8-8, but managed to finish first in the AFC West. On January 8, 2012, he played in his first career playoff game and recorded five combined tackles in a 29-23 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wildcard game. The following week, Harris started his first career playoff game and made eight combined tackles as the Broncos lost 45-10 to the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional round.[11]

2012[edit]

Harris was moved to the cornerback position on the Broncos' depth chart after they signed free agent Tracy Porter and hired Jack Del Rio as their new defensive coordinator.[12] Harris tied the Broncos’ single-season record with two interceptions returned for touchdowns and posted the fourth-most interception return yards (144) in team history in 2012. He ranked fifth in the NFL in receiving yards allowed (400) and tied for the ninth-fewest completions (35) allowed among players with at least 60 targets during the 2012 season.

Harris was inactive and missed the Broncos' Week 2 loss at the Atlanta Falcons. On September 30, 2012, Harris recorded three solo tackles and made his first career sack on Carson Palmer during a 37-6 defeat over the Oakland Raiders. Prior to Week 6, Harris was named the starting outside cornerback, along with Champ Bailey, after Tracy Porter was inactive due to seizure-like symptoms.[13] On October 15, 2012, Harris made four solo tackles, two pass deflections, a touchdown, and intercepted San Diego Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers twice in a 35-24 victory. He intercepted a pass intended for Eddie Royal and returned it 46-yards for his first career touchdown, sealing the victory for the Denver Broncos.[14] On December 16, 2012, Harris recorded a tackle, a pass deflection, and intercepted a pass by Ravens' quarterback Joe Flacco and returned it for a 98-yard touchdown during a 34-17 win at the Baltimore Ravens. It was the longest interception returned for a touchdown in Broncos' history. On December 23, 2012, he collected a season-high eight solo tackles in the Broncos' 34-12 victory at the Cleveland Browns. He finished the 2012 season with 61 combined tackles (51 solo), 12 pass deflections, three interceptions, 2.5 sacks, and two touchdowns in 15 games and 12 starts.[15]

The Denver Broncos finished atop the AFC West with a 12-4 record in Peyton Manning's first season with the team. On January 12, 2013, Harris started his first career playoff game and recorded three solo tackles and four pass deflections in the Broncos' 38-35 overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Divisional round.[15]

2013[edit]

Harris returned from his stellar season to enter training camp behind newly acquired free agent Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the depth chart. Head coach John Fox named him the third cornerback behind Champ Bailey and Rodgers-Cromartie to start the regular season.[16]

He started the Denver Broncos' season-opener against Baltimore and recorded three solo tackles, a pass deflection, and intercepted Joe Flacco during their 49-27 victory on Thursday Night Football. The following week, he made six combined tackles, two pass deflections, and intercepted Eli Manning after the ball deflected off Tony Carter's foot during the Broncos' 41-23 victory at the New York Giants. On October 13, 2013, Harris recorded a season-high 11 combined tackles in a 35-19 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He finished the 2013 season with 65 combined tackles (58 solo), 14 pass deflections, and a career-high three interceptions in 16 games and 15 starts.[17] He was ranked the eighth best cornerback in 2013 by Pro Football Focus.

The Denver Broncos finished first in their division with 13-3 record. On January 12, 2014, Harris recorded two solo tackles and deflected a pass during a 24-17 victory over the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Divisional Round. He left the game after suffering a torn ACL and miss the remainder of the playoffs. After defeating the New England Patriots the Broncos went on to Super Bowl XLVIII where they were defeated by the Seattle Seahawks 43-8.[18]

2014[edit]

Harris underwent surgery to repair his partially torn ACL in February and was on schedule to return in July.[19] On May 7, 2014, the Denver Broncos placed a second round tender on Harris that also paid him $2.18 million for 2014.

With Harris injured, the Broncos opted to draft Bradley Roby in the first round (31st overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft. They also signed free agent and his former Kansas teammate Aqib Talib and opted not to re-sign longtime veteran Champ Bailey. Head coach John Fox named Harris and Talib the starting cornerbacks to begin the 2014 regular season. On December 7, 2014, Harris recorded a season-high tying five solo tackles, a pass deflection, a sack, and intercepted a pass attempt by Kyle Orton in the Broncos' 24-17 win against the Buffalo Bills.[20] On December 12, 2014, the Denver Broncos signed Harris to a four-year, $42.5 million contract extension that includes $10.9 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $10 million.[4] He finished the 2014 season with 54 combined tackles (50 solo), 17 pass deflections, three interceptions, and a sack in 16 games and 16 starts.[21] He led the league in least passing yards allowed and did not give up a touchdown pass all season long, earning him a Pro Bowl selection and second team AP All-Pro honors.[22][23] Statistically, Harris had the best season from a cornerback since Darrelle Revis in 2009. Pro Football Focus ranked him the top cornerback in 2014, giving Harris an overall grade of +28.4, which was the highest overall grade among his position group in 2014. Since entering the league in 2011, Harris allowed six touchdowns, which was the lowest amount allowed by any cornerback during that span.[24]

The Denver Broncos finished first in the AFC West with a 12-4 record, but lost 24-13 in the AFC Divisional Round to the Indianapolis Colts. On January 25, 2015, Harris played in the 2015 Pro Bowl and recorded two solo tackles and a pass deflection as member of Team Irvin that defeated Team Rice 32-28.[21]

2015[edit]

Harris and Talib returned as the starting cornerbacks under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.[25]

On October 4, 2015, Harris recorded a season-high eight combined tackles during a 23-20 win against the Minnesota Vikings. The following week, Harris made his most notable play of the regular season, intercepting Derek Carr and returning it for a 75-yard touchdown which was the Broncos only touchdown in their 16-10 victory at the Oakland Raiders. Harris finished the regular season with 58 combined tackles (49 solo), six pass deflections, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a touchdown in 16 games and 16 starts.[26] His overall grade of 87.2 ranked as the second highest grade among cornerbacks from Pro Football Focus in 2015, behind only Darius Slay who received a grade of 87.3.[27]

After defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional round and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship, the Denver Broncos went on to appear in Super Bowl 50. On February 7, 2016, Harris recorded five solo tackles and a sack as the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24–10 to win Super Bowl 50.[28][29] Harris didn't allow a touchdown reception in coverage from December 1, 2013 to December 15, 2015, a span that covered 35 games (including playoffs).[30] He received enough votes from fellow NFL players to rank 52nd on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016. During the 2015 season, the Denver Broncos secondary gained the nickname the "No Fly Zone" due to their superior coverage ability.

2016[edit]

Harris started the Denver Broncos' season-opener against the Carolina Panthers, opposite Aqib Talib, in a Super Bowl 50 rematch and recorded two solo tackle, three pass deflections, and intercepted Cam Newton in Denver's 21-20 victory. On October 24, 2016, Harris collected a season-high seven combined tackles during a 27-9 victory against the Houston Texans. He finished the 2016 season with 63 combined tackles (57 solo), 11 pass deflections, and two interceptions in 16 games and 15 starts.[31] Pro Football Focus gave Harris a coverage grade of 91.6 and a grade of 61.4 in run defense. His overall grade of 91.7 made him the top cornerback in the league according to PFF. Fellow cornerback Aqib Talib finished second with a grade of 91.3, making them the highest ranked tandem in 2016.[32]

For the first time in Harris's six-year career, the Broncos missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record. Harris was voted to his third consecutive Pro Bowl after the 2016 season and was named First-team All-Pro.[33] He was also ranked 63rd on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.[34]

2017[edit]

New head coach Vance Joseph retained all of the starters in the Denver Broncos' secondary in 2017. On September 17, 2017, Harris recorded a season-high six solo tackles, two pass deflections, and an interception off quarterback Dak Prescott during a 42-17 victory.[35] In Week 13, he made two combined tackles, deflected a pass, and intercepted a pass attempt by Jay Cutler in Denver's 35-9 loss at the Miami Dolphins. Harris finished the 2017 season with a career-low 40 combined tackles (32 solo), seven pass deflections, and two interceptions in 16 games and 16 starts.[36] The Broncos finished fourth in the AFC West with a 5-11 record in their first season under Joseph. Pro Football Focus gave Harris an overall grade of 83.5, ranking him the 29th best cornerback in the NFL during the 2017 season.[37]

2018[edit]

On March 8, 2018, the Broncos exercised Harris' 2018 option, which would allow him to earn $8.5 million for the year.[38]

Personal life[edit]

In 2012, Chris Harris Jr. married his college sweetheart, Leah, with whom he resides in Dallas during the off-season.

In 2013, Harris started the Chris Harris Jr. Foundation. The foundation's fundamental goal is to support what Harris refers to as 'underdogs' through various charitable activities. Harris holds an annual free football camp for kids called the 'Underdog Football Academy', has been a national spokesman against domestic violence through DVIS,[39] and his foundation has worked extensively with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and The Salvation Army.

In addition to the foundation's work, Harris and his wife, Leah, are involved with Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Harris and his wife have a little brother and little sister that they personally mentor in addition to working with the organization in general.

In 2017, Harris participated in PETA's "Cold Dog Challenge," experiencing a night in the cold so as to encourage people to bring their pets inside.[40]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Foundation - Chris Harris Jr. Official Website". Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  2. ^ "Chris Harris, DS #30 FS, Kansas". nfldraftscout.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  3. ^ "Chris Harris - Kansas, FS : 2011 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile". Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "Spotrac.com: Chris Harris Jr. Contract". spotrac.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  5. ^ Mike Klis (December 13, 2014). "2011 Broncos undrafted class: Chris Harris tied for 13th smallest bonus". blogs.denverpost.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  6. ^ "Denver Broncos team report: Helped needed at CB, in both lines". sportingnews.com. September 3, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  7. ^ "Ourlads.com: Denver Broncos' depth chart: 06/01/2011". Ourlads.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  8. ^ "Ourlads.com: Denver Broncos' depth chart: 09/04/2011". Ourlads.com. Retrieved February 2, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Denver Broncos Rookie Chris Harris the Hidden Gem of the Class of 2011". nflmocks.com. December 17, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  10. ^ "Denver Broncos' injury report looks painful after being blown out by Detroit Lions". denverpost.com. October 30, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  11. ^ a b "NFL Player stats: Chris Harris Jr. (2011)". NFL.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  12. ^ Russ Oates (August 6, 2012). "Denver Broncos Release 2012 Preseason Depth Chart". denver.sbnation.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  13. ^ Riley Breckenridge (October 25, 2012). "Tracy Porter injury: Seizure sidelines Broncos CB". sbnation.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  14. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 6-2012: Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers". NFL.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  15. ^ a b "NFL Player stats: Chris Harris Jr. (2012)". NFL.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  16. ^ Christopher Hansen (August 23, 2013). "Denver Broncos Roster 2013: Latest Cuts, Depth Charts and Analysis". bleacherreport.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  17. ^ "NFL Player stats: Chris Harris Jr. (2013)". NFL.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  18. ^ "Super Bowl XLVIII - Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos - February 2nd, 2014". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 2017-11-03. 
  19. ^ "Chris Harris says he's 85 percent recovered from ACL surgery". NFL.com. June 30, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  20. ^ "NFL Game Center: Week 14-2014: Buffalo Bills @ Denver Broncos". NFL.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  21. ^ a b "NFL Player stats: Chris Harris Jr. (2014)". NFL.com. Retrieved February 2, 2018. 
  22. ^ Wilkening, Mike (March 7, 2014). "Report: Broncos give Chris Harris second-round tender". NBCSports.com. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  23. ^ Klis, Mike (March 7, 2014). "Chris Harris to see 2nd-round tender from Broncos; Tony Carter also to receive tender". DenverPost.com. Retrieved 2014-03-23. 
  24. ^ Scott Payne (May 20, 2015). "Chris Harris is the best cornerback in the league according to Pro Football Focus". milehighreport.com. Retrieved February 3, 2018. 
  25. ^ "Ourlads.com: Denver Broncos' depth chart: 10/01/2015". Ourlads.com. Retrieved February 3, 2018. 
  26. ^ "NFL Player stats: Chris Harris Jr. (2015)". NFL.com. Retrieved February 3, 2018. 
  27. ^ Rich Kurtzman (January 6, 2016). "Denver Broncos Chris Harris is NFL's No. 3 best cornerback per PFF". broncoswire.usatoday.com. Retrieved February 3, 2018. 
  28. ^ "Super Bowl 50 - Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers - February 7th, 2016". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 31 August 2017. 
  29. ^ "Super Bowl 50 - National Football League Game Summary" (PDF). NFL.com. Retrieved 7 August 2017. 
  30. ^ #52: Chris Harris Jr. (CB, Broncos) | Top 100 NFL Players of 2016
  31. ^ "NFL Player stats: Chris Harris Jr. (2016)". NFL.com. Retrieved February 3, 2018. 
  32. ^ David Scott (January 2, 2017). "Chris Harris and Aqib Talib were the NFL's best cornerbacks in 2016". Broncoswire.usatoday.com. Retrieved February 3, 2018. 
  33. ^ "Three rookies, Matt Ryan among players named to All-Pro team". NFL.com. January 6, 2017. 
  34. ^ NFL Top 100 Players of 2017 - No. 63 Chris Harris Jr.
  35. ^ "Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos - September 17th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved 14 October 2017. 
  36. ^ "NFL Player stats: Chris Harris Jr. (2017)". NFL.com. Retrieved February 3, 2018. 
  37. ^ "Pro Football Focus: Chris Harris Jr". profootballfocus.com. Retrieved February 3, 2018. 
  38. ^ Wesseling, Chris (March 8, 2018). "Denver Broncos exercise Chris Harris' contract option". NFL.com. 
  39. ^ "CHRIS HARRIS JR. TAKES A STAND AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE". 9 June 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 
  40. ^ "Chris Harris Jr. takes it outside for PETA’s ‘Cold Dog Challenge’," Mile High Sports, 23 January 2017.

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