Shown above, returning a Matt Hasselbeck interception for the game winning touchdown in overtime of a 2004 playoff game against the Seatttle Seahawks at Lambeau field. After seven seasons in Green Bay, Al Harris has played his last game for the Packers.
Yesterday, safety Atari Bigby made his 2010 debut for the Green Bay Packers against the Dallas Cowboys, finishing with two solo tackles in the Packers' 45-7 victory after being activated off the PUP list.
Longtime Packers cornerback Al Harris won't get the same chance to return from injury this season, at least not with the Packers.
Sunday Harris told the media that he feels as if he was led-on by the Packers, who had him practicing as the top nickelback the past three weeks only to tell him each Saturday that he wouldn't be playing in that week's game. In Harris' mind, the Packers' plans to release him were already in the works, and when once again this week he was told he wouldn't be playing, the writing was on the wall that his days as a Green Bay Packer were over.
A day later the man who started all 102 games in which he appeared over seven seasons with the Packers was officially placed on waivers.
Apparently, with young corners Sam Shields, Jarret Bush, Brandon Underwood and Pat Lee backing up starters Charles Woodsonand Tramon Williams, Packers brass, namely general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy, have decided there is no room for Harris on their team.
This decision, at this time, is a bit imprudent for a number of reasons.
First, both Pat Lee and Brandon Underwood have proven to be injury-prone thus far in their short careers. Lee missed the Dallas game with an ankle injury and Underwood has only appeared in six games this season because of a shoulder injury dating back to his college days at Cincinnati.
Second, the Packers are poised for a Super Bowl run, and a veteran cornerback who has proven to be a playmaker in the playoffs could come in handy when we get into January.
Third, Harris has already stated that he will be using this release as motivation to play well. And, if there is one quality of Harris' that has gotten him to where he is today, it is his great determination.
A determination I wouldn't bet against but that the Packers who should know it best have.
Harris is a smart man on and off the field, he sees that Thompson and McCarthy decided he's not good enough to play on their team.
And, now he will go out work harder than he ever has, be more dedicated than he ever has been, more determined than ever he will prove them wrong.
Unfortunately for the Packers, it could very well be against them in their next game following the bye week at Minnesota. The Vikings, at 3-5, are sitting near the top of the waiver list, meaning they will have a great shot at claiming another Packers castoff if they so choose.
Fourth, Thompson might not have only hurt the Packers depth in the secondary should they suffer another injury, but he will also more than likely be improving the depth of a divisional rival at the same time.
Having Harris fall into their laps and getting receiver Sidney Rice back off the PUP list could very well be the spark that rights the Vikings ship.
The Packers won't have to wait long to see if they were right in their conclusion that the 35 year old can no longer play.
Considering they are short at cornerback with starter Cedric Griffin going on injured reserve a few weeks ago with a knee injury, expect to see the Minnesota Vikings claim Harris, and he will line up opposite a Packers receiver at the Metrodome on November 21st for better or worse.
There is no way to know if Harris has recovered from what was by all accounts a horrific knee injury other than to throw him into the fire on the field, which apparently the Packers were unwilling to do.
Darren Sharper, Ryan Longwell and Brett Favre, after they were deemed over the hill by the Packers, played very well for the Vikings.
If that is any indication, expect Harris to do the same.