Harris a hands-on cornerback

Al Harris not only has a similar hairdo to cornerback Mike McKenzie, but his style of play is similar as well – aggressive. With his long dreadlocks flowing out of the back of his helmet, Harris gave his new coaches and teammates a taste of what he has to offer at the recent post-draft minicamp.<p>

"He showed that he's a hands-on, aggressive, man-to-man corner," said defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. "He likes to challenge people. He's picking up the system. He fits in really well with our guys."

Harris, a sixth-year pro, often will challenge receivers at the line of scrimmage and use his strength to make it tough on them to run their routes. Since he was acquired by the Packers in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles in February, Harris has been traveling to and from Green Bay from his home in Florida, participating in "opportunity sessions" with coaches, as well as the post-draft minicamp, in the Don Hutson Center and Clarke Hinkle Field.

Harris is expected to start in place of Tyrone Williams, who signed with the Atlanta Falcons in March. He will be challenged in minicamp by third-year pro Bhawoh Jue but it is clearly Harris' job to lose. After playing behind Pro Bowlers Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor in Philadelphia in the last five seasons, he is more than ready to start.

"I'm extremely excited to just have the opportunity, you know what I mean?" Harris told reporters.

Like Williams, Harris is durable. He has not missed one game over his five-year NFL career and carries an 80-game playing streak into the upcoming season. He has 152 career tackles, seven interceptions and 55 passes defensed.

Harris was expendable because Eagles coaches want to create playing time this season for youngsters Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown. Sheppard was the team's first-round choice in 2002 and Brown was the latter of the Eagles' two second-rounders. The Packers like Harris because he is bigger and more physical than Williams.

"Very aggressive, just like we thought," Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman said. "Very aggressive with his hands. He prides himself on how he can jam a receiver, and that is very disruptive to a passing offense, particularly a West Coast offense that works on timing. ... He's very competitive and very confident."

The Packers have inherited Harris' existing contract which runs through the next two seasons. His base salaries are $1.05 million for 2003 and $1.15 million for 2004.

Harris feels he will be comfortable in the Packers' defense prior to the regular season opener on Sept. 7 against the Minnesota Vikings.

"With any system it's different," Harris said. "I'm pretty sure by the time training camp comes around, I'll be ready full stride."


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