Thursday, October 27, 2011

Lions Game Revisited: Chris Harris Released

If you watched the Lion's-Bears game on October 11, you knew that the Bears had a lot of work ahead of them following that debacle. However, at the same time you probably thought the "sky is not falling." The Bears have had horrible games before and then managed to come back strong. Remember 2010?

Still, it was certainly a frustrating game for spectators—all the bad vibes seem to land on the Bears in that one game. I can only imagine what is was like for the players and coaches on the field.

You'll recall TV coverage of the game featured images of Brian Urlacher talking fast and furious with Lance Briggs, seemingly questioning what was going on with his teammates. After the game, Urlacher avoided any finger pointing and diplomatically turned the attention to the entire team—suggesting that there was a lot of work to be done all the way around. You may recall this game also featured a groundless "spearing" penalty against Urlacher at a critical moment in the game.

Chris Harris

Chris Harris fell out of favor with Bears coaches after that Lions loss. One Harris lapse reminded me of Anthony Cromartie's play against the Jets in a 2009 playoff game that apparently ended his career with San Diego. Cromartie seemed to be in a different time zone for that game. Funny that it was the Jets who picked him up.

The Tribune's Dan Pompei described the Harris play that really stuck out in the Lions game this way:

"Harris ran right past Nate Burleson in the backfield on an end around, apparently unaware Burleson had the ball."

Harris also received bad marks for a couple other plays during the game that were more typical defensive failures—the kind that you might see in most every NFL game. Yet, it was surprising to see Harris react so negatively to his benching the following week because it seemed so well deserved. Coach Smith gave him another shot against Tampa Bay in London, but apparently his performance once again failed to impress—thus his release early this morning from the Chicago Bears.

Some writers suggest that Harris was still suffering from a hamstring injury when he suited up for the Lions game. If that's the case, he may be a good prospect for some of the other teams in the league that are having problems with the Safety position. There are many reports on the Internet today about several teams that may be interested in picking up Harris including the Minnesota Vikings.

Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Patrick McCaskey's Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout and other fine sports books.

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