Tag:Tommie Harris
Posted on: March 5, 2011 3:20 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2011 4:17 pm

Tommie Harris exits Chicago with class

Posted by Andy Benoit

It’s not often that a three-time Pro Bowler under the age of 30 a.) gets cut and b.) shows such gratitude to his former team and city. But defensive tackle Tommie Harris says he doesn’t burn any bridges. In fact, reading the heartfelt full page Chicago Tribune thank you ad that Harris did for fans Thursday, you could say the man actually builds bridges.
T. Harris (US Presswire)
Harris wrote:

Words cannot express my heartfelt appreciation for your support throughout my seven seasons with the Chicago Bears.

From the moment I first stepped off the plane back in 2004, I have felt the warmth of your welcome. I have been embraced by this great city and have come to know it as my home. I consider myself as much as a Chicagoan as a Texan.

You have cheered with me in our victories, and I don't think I could ever get tired of hearing your roar as I am introduced before a game!

You have expressed your concern over my injuries. Thousands of you have sent letters, cards and e-mails over the years wishing me well.

I will deeply miss my teammates whose camaraderie on and off the field is unmatched. I could not imagine going into battle with a better group of guys.

I have met so many of you in person, and you are always so kind and friendly. I will miss each and every one of you.

I could have never asked for better teammates, better fans or a better city.

So, thank you, Chicago. It's been a great run!

Harris’ tenure in Chicago will be remembered with both fondness and glumness. His initial quickness made him the most brilliant one-gap defensive tackle in football early in his career. But after signing a long-term mega deal in 2008, injuries and whispers about focus and work ethic dogged Harris. Overall, he lived up to his first-round billing, but Bears fans (and perhaps Harris, as well) probably won’t be able to help but wonder about what could have been.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 3, 2011 10:34 am

Hot Routes 3.3.11: Lesnar's conquerer retires

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • It’s always nice to see a player, after he retires or is released, take out a full-page color advertisement in the local newspaper to thank the fans and city. That’s what former Bears DE Tommie Harris did today in the Chicago Tribune. Classy move.
  • Perhaps another reason why former Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left the organization to take the same position at the University of Florida: he didn’t want his salary slashed because of the potential lockout.
  • Former Alabama WR Julio Jones, who took part in the NFL combine with a fractured freakin’ foot, will have surgery Saturday so doctors can insert a screw into his foot. Jones should be healed in six to eight weeks.
  • This isn’t football-related, but I thought it was relevant to the continued concussion storylines. Former hockey enforcer Bob Probert, who died last year at the age of 45, was suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Just like Dave Duerson and a host of other NFL players who have died recently.

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Posted on: February 28, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2011 1:35 pm

Bears release Tommie Harris

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Tommie Harris had been a standout Bears DT for five years, beginning in 2004 and leading to three Pro Bowl berths and the 2007 Ed Block Courage Award.

The past two years, though, you could see a decline – he combined for only four sacks in the past two years – and based partly on that, the Bears announced today they’ve released him (along with LB Hunter Hillenmeyer and T Kevin Shaffer).

Harris made only six starts last season (out of 15 games), and considering he was due a $2.5 million bonus before training camp (and a $500,000 workout bonus) and was scheduled to make a base salary of $2.3 million, the move makes financial sense.

But Harris was coach Lovie Smith’s first draft pick, so the move likely saddens the player and the coach.

Also, Bears Rapid Reporter Gene Chamberlain had this to write about Hillenmeyer and a potential controversy that could come from his release.

Writes Chamberlain: "Conspiracy theorists might point to the fact that LB Hunter Hillenmeyer was the Bears' former player rep and a current alternate player rep as a reason he was cut Monday, but the season-ending concussion he suffered in preseason -- as well as past concussion problems -- made his return questionable at best."

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Posted on: January 20, 2011 1:21 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 1:36 pm

Bears vs. Packers: 7-Point Championship Preview

Posted by Andy Benoit

CBSSports.com's patented and award-winning 7-point preview gets you ready for each and every playoff game. As a bonus, enjoy our playoff podcast preview:

1. Green Bay Packers (No. 6, NFC, 12-6) @ Chicago Bears (No. 2, AFC, 12-5)

The oldest rivalry in football takes center stage in the playoffs for only the second time ever. Their last postseason meeting occurred in 1941, a week after Pearl Harbor. We’ll assume that the Bears’ momentum from that 33-14 victory has worn off.

Vegas agrees, as these Bears are actually three-and-a-half-point underdogs at home. These teams played twice in the regular season. Chicago claimed victory in Week 3 (that was the Monday night game where Mike McCarthy should have saved clock by letting the Bears score a touchdown in the final minute but instead banked on the idea that Robbie Gould would miss a 19-yard field goal – which, of course, he did not.) In the Week 17 rematch, the Bears technically had nothing to play for, but they still went all-out in an effort to stay sharp and eliminate a white-hot Packers team from playoff contention. They held Aaron Rodgers and company to just 10 points, but as it turned out, they needed to hold them to two.

2. PLAYOFFS?! Watchability Ranking

If a conference championship game -- featuring two division rivals squaring off in the playoffs for the second time EVER -- doesn't garner five Mora Faces, what does?

3. Key Matchup to Watch: Bears secondary vs. Packers receivers

Rodgers is playing so well right now that even getting pressure on him might not pay off. After all, the Falcons got plenty of clean rushers to him last Saturday. The Bears’ best chance at slowing Green Bay’s passing attack is to out-physical Rodgers’ targets. Charles Tillman especially will have to be aggressive. He’s far and away Chicago’s best cover corner but, like most players, he lacks the quickness to shadow Greg Jennings.

Style wise, No. 2 corner Tim Jennings has a skill set that is conducive for handling Donald Driver. But all things equal, Tim Jennings on Driver is a mismatch favoring Green Bay. So it will be up to Jennings and his assisting safeties to make things unequal. The way to do that is to disrupt route timing; Driver shows hints of frustration when defensive backs get their hands on him.

Expect the Packer to use frequent three-and four-receiver formations. Chicago’s top backup defensive backs, Corey Graham, has stiff hips and struggles with receivers who change direction; Jordy Nelson or James Jones could both pose problems for him. What’s more, Chicago’s safeties are hard-hitting but only average in help coverage.

4. Potentially Relevant Video

Why not?

5. The Bears will win if ...

They protect the ball offensively (obviously) and, defensively, if they can get pressure on Aaron Rodger with only four rushers (very doable given the way Julius Peppers, Matt Toeaina, Israel Idonije, Tommie Harris and even backup Henry Melton have been playing lately). Also, Chicago must force the Packers to rely most frequently on their running backs and tight ends. That would allow the Bears athletic linebacking trio to be the focal point defensively.

6. The Packers will win if ...

Rodgers stays hot, Dom Capers’ complex defense befuddles the Bears’ pass blockers (a group that has had trouble identifying blitzes at times) and both teams break even on special teams.

7. Prediction: Packers 24, Bears 17
Posted on: September 30, 2010 6:26 pm

Tommie Harris not looking to leave Chicago

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Although Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reads the tea leaves and predicts DT Tommie Harris – who was deactivated for the Packers game last Monday – will play Sunday vs. the Giants, don’t expect Harris to ask for a trade if he doesn’t see the field.

"I don't want to be traded,” Harris said in comments recorded by Rapid Reporter Gene Chamberlain. “I love Chicago. I love my team, I love my teammates, and I play hard for this city."

Harris The news of Harris’ benching continues to make headlines, because it’s not a usual occurrence for a team to just outright bench a three-time Pro Bowler because of performance issues.

And it’s not for a lack of practicing. Even though Harris, in past years, has taken advantage of veteran benefits and not practiced as much as most everybody else on his team, he’s been on the practice field much more this season, Biggs writes. For whatever reason, it hasn’t translated into quality play.

"That's what we're trying to figure out, all right?" coach Lovie Smith said. "You don't have to figure all that out after three games. We're going to go back to practice. Maybe sometimes taking a week off helps for whatever reason. But Tommie is still a big part of what we're going to do around here."

Other comments from Harris today, courtesy of Chamberlain.

On his benching: "I wasn't frustrated that I didn't play. It's just that it's Monday Night Football. It was very disturbing when I found out the news, but what can you do? (Teammates) talked to me and just told me to be ready."

On his play in the two games before he was benched: "I think I did all right. But I didn't do Tommie Harris good - my standards where I feel that I'm used to - at a Pro Bowl level. But it will get to that."

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Posted on: September 29, 2010 9:53 am

Hot Routes 09.29.10: Questionable injury lists

B. Wells gains extra yards against Oakland (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

-Although coach Ken Whisenhunt completely misled everybody not in the Arizona Cardinals locker room regarding the health of running back Beanie Wells’ knee – he said it was a bone bruise when, in actuality, Wells had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus – Whisenhunt said he didn’t use the weekly injury report to his advantage. In the first two games Wells missed, he was listed as questionable.

-At least one 49ers player was excited by the ascension of Mike Johnson to the offensive coordinator position to replace the fired Jimmy Raye. And by excited I mean pumped. That’d be tight end Vernon Davis.

-Suddenly, Bears coach Lovie Smith is holding accountable – in very public ways – some of his team’s top players. If they’re not good enough to play – a la Tommie Harristhey’re simply not going to be on the field. With a 3-0 record, who’s to say Smith is wrong about this?

-The Green Bay Press-Gazette writes that tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher are starting to look a little old. After watching Monday night’s game vs. the Bears, I was surprised with some of the mistakes made by Clifton (I didn’t notice Tauscher as much, though he had his fair share), especially with the penalties.

-Apparently nobody seems bothered by Ravens RB Ray Rice’s injured knee. It was not mentioned by anybody – not by coach John Harbaugh, not by radio host Gerry Sandusky, not by any callers – during Harbaugh’s weekly radio show.

-After watching the Dolphins lose 18 yards on eight attempts using the Wildcat formation, Sun Sentinel columnist Ethan Skolnick says Miami might want to dial it down a little. Skolnick calls the Dolphins victims of their own success and says the Wildcat has become rather predictable.

-The Jaguars re-signed S Gerald Alexander a few weeks after cutting him, and Alexander is happy to be employed once again. He said he wasn’t surprised by Jacksonville releasing him. In fact, he said he didn’t deserve to make the team, and he’s surprised he’s been re-signed.

-You might be wondering what’s up with Dolphins LB Ikaika Alama-Francis and why he hasn’t played this year (and subsequently allowed Koa Misi to have a big impact at that position). The answer is that Alama-Francis has been ill and has lost 15-20 pounds.

-Giants S Michael Johnson has been placed on IR with a herniated disc in his back.

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Posted on: September 27, 2010 7:41 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 7:58 pm

Bears deactivate Tommie Harris

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In a surprising move, the Bears have deactivated DT Tommie Harris for tonight’s game against the Packers.

Harris The team is calling it a coach’s decision, and it doesn’t appear an injury to Harris is playing a factor in the move.

As the Chicago Tribune writes, Harris was benched for a game last season, and in 2008, he was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. The paper writes that Harris practiced all week in preparation for tonight’s game.

Harris has struggled this season. In two games, he’s made one tackle and has recovered one fumble.

Matt Toeaina will replace Harris in the starting lineup.

UPDATE (7:54 p.m.): According to the Tribune's Brad Biggs, a team official said coach Lovie Smith's decision not to play Harris is nothing more than a move to get the team's best 45 players on the field tonight and that no disciplinary measures are forthcoming. Assuming that's true, that's quite a stunning admission for the Bears.

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Posted on: July 28, 2010 11:37 am

The potential impact of Julius Peppers

A couple stories today on the Bears defense and what the addition of DE Julius Peppers to the right side of the line will mean to this year’s squad.

LB Brian Urlacher is excited about Peppers. He tells the Chicago Tribune that with Peppers harassing the opposing quarterback, that will allow Chicago’s Cover-2 defensive scheme to work more effectively.

"The year before the Super Bowl and the year of the Super Bowl, we were good,'' Urlacher told the paper. "We ran so much Cover 2, and it worked. We had pressure on the quarterback. We had a lot of picks. … We have the talent and the ability to play more man coverage. But here's the thing: Cover 2 works. When we do it right and when we have pressure with our front four and we're breaking on the ball like we've been doing all this spring, it works. There is no doubt in my mind that we will have pressure on the quarterback this season.''

Urlacher said he expects the Bears to blitz less, because it’s assumed Peppers and Mark Anderson will get plenty of pressure by themselves off the edge – they replace Alex Brown and Adewale Ogunleye, a combined 12.5 sacks in 2009, from last year. Defensive tackles Tommie Harris, who probably won’t see as many double-teams because of Peppers, and Anthony Adams also will be expected to help.

Theoretically, that means the Bears could drop as many as seven defenders into pass coverage.

ESPN Chicago’s Jeff Dickerson, though, wonders about how effective Anderson can be opposite of Peppers.

From his story:

New starter Mark Anderson registered only 3.5 sacks, a far cry from his breakout rookie year in 2006 when he had 12. To further complicate matters, Anderson has been in this position before. He was elevated to first string in 2007, but was unable to effectively play both the pass and run, and eventually lost to starting position back to Brown. What has Anderson done to restore the Bears' faith in him? Why was Brown deemed expendable? These are question only Anderson can answer by his performance on the field. The Bears do have plenty of depth at defensive end in the form of Israel Idonije, Jarron Gilbert and rookie Corey Wootton, but it may be unfair to expect any of the reserves to put up high sack totals.

In the end, much of how the Bears defense will perform comes down to how Peppers plays. If he returns to his form the past two years – where he’s combined for 25 sacks – as opposed to 2007 (when he had just 2.5), he should have the ability to shoulder many of those burdens.

--Josh Katzowitz

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com