John Crist: You said you were shocked when Lovie Smith told you three years ago you had been traded to Carolina. But looking back at it now, the fact that you were shipped out in favor of guys like Adam Archuleta and Kevin Payne, does that make it feel even worse?
Chris Harris: I guess so. A little different. I'm coming into my sixth season, so I've had five years experience playing. I feel that during that three-year span I was in Carolina, I have become a smarter and better player, and I felt the experience was good and it made me a better player. So I feel I can be a better player for the Bears now that I'm back here.
JC: Not only were you fortunate enough to play with Julius Peppers with the Panthers, but you ended up following him here to Chicago. Everyone just assumes he's going to make everyone on defense better. But do you guys need to make him better, too?
CH: It's not just his job to make everyone better. It's a collective effort. There's 11 guys out there on defense, so it's a team thing. So the whole front four, adding him I think helps our chances, because he's a guy that's going to demand constant double teams, possible triple teams, which makes other guys have to step up and win their one-on-one battles up on the front line and get pressure on the quarterback. And that happens, then it makes our job a lot easier on the back end as far as secondary players and not having to cover as long, being able to anticipate and break on balls a little earlier.
JC: Take me back to Super Bowl XLI. Devin Hester runs back the opening kick for a touchdown. Then on the first series, you intercept Peyton Manning. Is that when you were thinking to yourself, This is going to happen. It's our day. The Bears are going to be world champs.
CH: I felt like it. I felt good. I remember before the game, I was messing around with [former Bears defensive coordinator] Ron Rivera, and I told him I was going to get the Super Bowl MVP. He was like, You can do it. Just messing around with him. And when I got that first interception, he kind of winked at me. Man, I felt we had our chances. I really felt we had our chance. D-Hes runs the opening kickoff back. That was a great momentum shift right there, and then for me to get the interception on the first series of the game, I felt we kind of had momentum. But it's a 60-minute game, so you don't win the game in the first quarter. And unfortunately, we weren't able to withstand the Colts. They played a great game.
JC: Your first tour of duty here, you're expected to learn from a guy like Mike Brown. But this time, you're sort of the Mike Brown and expected to teach a guy like Major Wright. Have you noticed a difference in how the coaching staff is treating you?
CH: Yeah, I wouldn't quite say I'm the Mike Brown. I don't like to put myself in his shoes, because Mike's got some very big shoes to fill. He was a hell of a player, and I learned a ton of stuff from Mike. I was lucky to be able to have him here when I got drafted here and to just learn and be able to play beside him. And I guess I'm kind of, not playing his role, but kind of fitting in, trying to insert myself as maybe the vocal leader back there in the back end and kind of teaching Major Wright and some of the younger players on the ins and outs of this defense. That's one thing I do. I pride myself on learning what's going on, knowing what everybody's doing.
JC: I'm sure winning the Super Bowl with Carolina would have been the cat's meow. But coming back to Chicago, having already lost a Super Bowl with this team, to get back there and win it this time around would be quite the story of redemption, right?
CH: Absolutely. We go to the Super Bowl In '06, and I felt we had a great run, a great team. To come up short and to potentially be able to get a second chance to go back to a Super Bowl with this team and actually win it, I feel we have pieces in place to give it an excellent run. Defensively, I'm excited about what I see on the defense. It reminds me of the '06 defense when I was here. We've got guys healthy. We've got a great front-four pass rush, and then Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher, they're still the same players, if not better. And I feel we're pretty solid on the back end.
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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.
Camp Q&A: S Chris Harris
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