Because rush-defense is something of a perennial curse for the Indianapolis Colts, picking up former Chicago Bears great Tommie Harris in free agency seemed like a shrewd move. Surely a defensive tackle like him would be a fine argument for teams that would run on the Colts.
Too bad the partnership didn't last. On cut day, the Colts decided to part ways with the two-time Pro Bowler—despite the fact Harris had looked pretty good for them during the preseason.
The question begging to be asked after the move was made, was a simple one: What gives?
There's still no real clear answer to that question, but ESPN's AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky wrote something pretty interesting in his analysis of Indy's cuts.
"Tommie Harris seemed to play well enough to stick, but the former first-round defensive tackle apparently wanted to be treated like the team’s top defensive lineman and the team didn’t like the attitude," wrote Kuharsky.
My initial reaction upon reading this was to take it with a grain of salt. The word "apparently" was a big reason why.
My next reaction, however, was to come to the conclusion that this made sense. After establishing himself as a star with the Bears and then doing good things for the Colts during the preseason, of course Harris would want to be treated like the new sheriff in town, so to speak.
On the other hand, that the Colts chose not to put up with this also makes sense. That's because they knew something that Harris seemed content to ignore—that they had signed him off the scrap heap.
It's true. The Bears cut Harris loose before the lockout, but there didn't seem to be much interest in his services until well after the lockout ended. The Colts got him relatively late, and they got him on a one-year contract at a bargain price.
That they were able to do so is not a surprise. Harris may have two Pro Bowls to his name, but his last three seasons have been anything but Pro Bowl-worthy. In fact, his numbers indicate pretty clearly that he's on the decline.
The Colts could have taken Harris' preseason performance to mean that he was due for a rebirth, but they instead came to a conclusion that is a perfect reflection of their general approach to the preseason: that it doesn't mean anything.
Harris should have realized that too. Instead, he wanted to be treated as the savior of Indy's defensive line. The Colts clearly didn't think the same thing.
Now that he's once again a free agent, it won't be long before Harris finds work again. But when he does, he should probably be thankful he has it.
In other words, he needs to just shut up and play.
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