Harris is a good NFL cornerback. He's never made the Pro Bowl squad for the NFC, but he has been an asset for the Green Bay Packers' secondary. Now, he's becoming nothing more than a pain in the ---.
Harris, 31, is just two seasons into a five-year, $19 million extension that he signed Sept. 11, 2004. That deal included more than $7 million in bonus money. He is scheduled to make $1.5 million this season. He also received a $1 million roster bonus this off-season.
But apparently, that's not enough to get by for Harris, the latest example of a greedy, selfish pro athlete.
"It's not 100%, that's for sure," Harris said from his home in Coral Springs, Fla. "I'd like to come and do my job, but everyone's got to be fair, too. It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out."
Harris' comments were in direct contrast to those made last month by both him and his agent, Jack Bechta.
"I've got to do what's best for me and my family," said Harris, who turns 32 in December. "And now we're on the clock. I'm not getting any younger, so I have to take a business approach to it."
Harris must mean that his days are numbered in the NFL because he's old for a cornerback. Like a running back or wide receiver, skill position players in the NFL are often begin the downswing of their career at the age of 30. Harris was 29 when he signed the multi-year deal. If he didn't like the deal, or didn't think it would be worth much after two seasons, why take it? Why not negotiate for a three-year extension, or two years?
"Yeah. I should have waited to see what the market dictated," Harris said. "But I didn't want to leave Green Bay and there's a lot of times you see guys price themselves right out of the league.
"I probably should have waited and tried to get more money. But hopefully something may come up."
Quite often in sports, top-notch players will leap-frog one another with more lucrative contracts. The problem here is Harris wants to leap before it's his turn. If Harris thinks that the Packers will suddenly rework his contract to reflect the one that they handed to Charles Woodson or Aaron Kampman, he's wrong.
The best thing Harris can do for himself and the Packers is report to camp and play. If he continues to perform at a high level over the next two years, he'll be in line for a restructured deal. He made his bed, but now he can't sleep at night because he realizes that he's locked in for a longer term than he wants. Harris needs to accept the situation for what it is instead of being a brat, kicking and screaming till he gets his way. And Ted Thompson has to put his foot down on this malcontent, or the fire will only get more intense.
Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at email@example.com.