FLORHAM PARK, NJ - David Harris doesn't like being the center of attention. He never has. He's never sought the spotlight, he's a football player who just wants to focus on playing football. Attention doesn't interest him, the only thing he seeks is a Super Bowl ring.
Harris is in his ninth-season in this league, the Jets are the only team he's ever played for and as great a career as he has had he has never really received the recognition he deserves. The fact that he has never been selected to a Pro Bowl is absurd, he's been one of the best inside linebackers in the league for most of his career, but if you had to guess why he hasn't, the fact that's he isn't a self-promoter would have to be at the top of the list.
So why has he never sought the glitz and the glamor, the attention and the spotlight?
"Why should I have to be?" Harris asked with the heaviest shoulder shrug you'll ever see. "Why should I have to be?"
It really is that simple for Harris, "I do my job, that's all," he said. "Get the calls out, get guys lined up and do my job."
Harris said, when he was facing free agency, he didn't know what to expect. He had never been in that position before but once he met Todd Bowles, and was shown the new system, he knew he didn't want to leave the only NFL home he's ever known. And sure, he had to learn another new defensive scheme, but that wasn't an issue for him. After all it's just football.
"It wasn't that long (the process of learning the new system). At the end of the day it's football, it's still a game of blocking and tackling," Harris said. "I've been playing middle linebacker since I was 10-years-old, I've seen a lot of plays and each coach has the same techniques just different terminology, that's all."
Harris was asked to assess his season so far and in typical Harris fashion he deflected the attention away from himself.
"Still got three games left, trying to get to the playoffs," Harris said. "And (as far as) individual play you can ask my coach."
Oh but the reporters already did David, and you know this. This is exactly why you're being asked these questions.
"I don't think we could function on defense if David wasn't playing right now. David is probably the most underrated guy over there, but he's the glue that keeps everybody together over there," Bowles said. "He does everything. Not only mentally, he makes plays. He makes a ton of plays. They're probably not flashy, like you see Mo and you see Revis and the rest of those guys. But, David keeps that core intact. David understands the game. He's our coach on the field. Without him, I don't know where we'd be."
After being reminded that his coach was gushing, something Bowles rarely does, over him Harris said, "(Ask) my position coach."
When asked about how comfortable the rest of the defense is in the new system Harris said, "We're still gelling. Guys are getting comfortable, knowing their assignments," but again he turned the attention to the simplicity of putting on the pads, going out and hitting the other team.
His coaches and teammates love the way he carries himself. He's not a real vocal leader, he leads by example and Muhammad Wilkerson learned that the second he met him, "He's a guy I've looked up to since I walked in here on day one," Wilkerson said.
The respect, especially from his teammates, is something Harris certainly appreciates but the closest you'll ever get to hearing him admit that is when he said, "At the end of the day you play the game to win and earn respect. That's all I'm trying to do."
Attention, spotlight, Pro Bowls, accolades are great and all but that's not why Harris plays this game. He's played his entire career in the New York market and never sought out commercials or any sort of attention off of the football field. He only wants attention for one thing, he's trying to get himself a Super Bowl ring.
"I mean, (I'm) just trying to get a Super Bowl ring," Harris said. "That's the most important thing. Everything else will fall into place if it does happen. So, I don't lose any sleep thinking about that."
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)