The rise and rise of Erik Harris by Bryan Dickie

The rise and rise of Erik Harris by Bryan Dickie
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The former D2 walk-on had his best appearance to date on Thursday in what’s been a meteoric rise to NFL stardom. Harris had two picks, which would have been three if it wasn’t for a penalty, one of which he ran back for a score. Harris is playing like an all-pro but his road to the NFL was anything but normal.

Harris shone at NCAA Division II California University of Pennsylvania, recording 9 interceptions and 231 tackles. Despite this Harris was passed on in the 2012 NFL draft, not to give up on his dream he headed out to Buffalo, via working in a chip shop, for an $80 try out to the CFL. The Hamilton Tiger Cats picked Harris and his journey in pro football finally began.

At the Tiger Cats he’d grab 4 Interceptions, record 96 tackles, reached the playoffs twice and even had a 55 yard receiving touchdown. Harris’ play in the CFL was impressive but that alone didn’t get him his shot in the NFL, but a friendship with other Hamilton Safety Delvin Breaux. After being signed by the Saints Breaux got his friend Harris a trial back in 2016-differing from the CFL trial there wasn’t a $80 fee but the result was the same; Harris got his chance with the Saints. He played 4 games, recording one tackle before tearing his ACL, ending his season and his stay with the Saints.

Harris nearly signed for the Bills but a last minute call changed his mind and headed to Oakland before the 2017 season, where he played 15 games and recorded only 4 tackles. Harris played in all 16 games for the Raiders in 2018, starting, grabbing 2 Interceptions and recording 36 tackles.

Injury to Raiders first round pick Johnathan Abram earlier this season has led to Harris starting 7 games so far 2019 already surpassing his 2018 totals for both tackles and interceptions, 38 and 3 respectively.

Harris figures to be a centerpiece in the Raiders defence for the remainder of the season, games like Thursday will only help continue his rise from D2 walk on to NFL mainstay.

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