Stud of the Week: Tommie Harris

Tommie Harris is a pretty quiet guy in the Bears locker room, but his play on Sundays is speaking volumes. The marvelously talented defensive tackle came up with a huge play on Sunday at the Metrodome, forcing a Chester Taylor fumble that helped set up the winning touchdown. Harris is the Bear Report Stud of the Week.

Although he won't even turn 23 years old until two days before Halloween, Tommie Harris is playing with a level of maturity beyond his age. The disruptive defensive tackle blossomed last season in his sophomore campaign, and based on the quick start he is off to in 2006, he is making a case to be the best in the NFL at his position. Harris is the Bear Report Stud of the Week.

The Bears had it pretty easy the first two weeks of the regular season. They rolled the hapless Packers in Green Bay before skinning the rebuilding Lions at Soldier Field. Week 3 provided much more of a challenge as they traveled to the Metrodome, a venue in which they have had very little success lately, for a date with the upstart Vikings.

Trailng 16-12 well into the fourth quarter, the Bears needed their world-class defense to make a big play, and Harris stepped up and delivered. With Minnesota seemingly content keeping the ball on the ground and grinding out the clock, Harris blasted his way through the line of scrimmage and forced a fumble from tailback Chester Taylor. Adewale Ogunleye pounced on it for a crucial turnover, and a few plays later, Rex Grossman found Rashied Davis over the middle for the deciding touchdown in a character-building 19-16 comeback victory.

The 14th pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, Harris made his first trip to the Pro Bowl after last season and is well on his way toward a second this coming February. Despite his 300-pound frame, he is lightning quick getting off the all and can be unblockable at times for opposing offensive linemen. Reigning Defensive Player of the Year Brian Urlacher gets most the publicity in Chicago, and deservedly so, but Harris is one of the reasons the linebacker is able to roam free from sideline to sideline and rack up the tackles.

Harris also recorded a sack on Sunday and now has three in three games, and if he keeps up this blistering pace, he might have to make room on his mantle for a Defensive Player of the Year award of his own.


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