The pressure is mounting for defensive tackle Tommie Harris. After signing a four-year, $40-million extension last June, the three-time Pro Bowler had a lackluster season in 2008, in large part because of lingering knee and hamstring injuries.
If healthy, he could do wonders for the Bears’ Tampa Two defense, which generates the bulk of its pass rush from the front four.
It’s put-up or shut-up time for Harris. ESPN agrees, selecting him as their veteran on the hot seat in the NFC North.
Here is my mock interview with Harris:
1. You seem to be a pretty happy-go-lucky guy. But with all the stuff going on last year -- the record-breaking contract, the injury issues, the one-game suspension, the birth of your first child -- have you become a more serious person these days?
2. You were battling either knee or hamstring injuries for more than two seasons. After a while, some people started blaming your toughness and work ethic. What would be your response to these criticisms?
3. What is more harmful to a defensive tackle—a hamstring injury or a knee injury? Why?
4. They say Rod Marinelli is the ultimate motivator. And Warren Sapp is hardly placid. How vocal are they in practices? What ways do they try to motivate you?
5. Is there a good-cop, bad-cop scenario with those two? If so, who plays who?
6. You've said Dusty Dvoracek is like “a brother from another mother.” How has your friendship evolved since the days you lined up together at Oklahoma?
7. I hear you like to fish. What’s the best fish you’ve ever caught? Do you ever bring teammates along with you?
8. What do you think of Jarron Gilbert's jumping-out-of-pool stunt? Do you think you could pull it off?
9. I hear you talk to your mom before every game. What do you two talk about?
10. At this point, are you used to the Windy City weather, or are you still a Texas boy at heart?