May 18—NFL teams are in the midst of spring drills. But Chris Harris Jr. isn’t planning to join one now.
Teams will start training camp in late July. But Harris isn’t expecting to head anywhere then.
The regular season will begin in early September. Now that will get Harris’ attention.
Harris, a star cornerback with the Broncos from 2011-19, is a free agent after playing with the Los Angeles Chargers from 2020-21 and the New Orleans Saints last season. He wants to play a 13th NFL season, but it has to be on his terms.
“(Teams) pretty much know I’m not planning on doing any training camp or anything like that,” Harris, who turns 34 on June 18, said in an interview with The Denver Gazette. “I’ll do the same thing I did last year. I’m not doing training camp and all that OTAs (organized team activities in the spring) and stuff like that anymore.”
After last year sitting out spring drills, training camp and the start of the regular season as a free agent, Harris was signed Oct. 4 to the Saints’ practice squad. He soon was promoted to the active roster, and got into 10 games, starting four.
Having made four Pro Bowls, gotten a first-team All-Pro nod and being named to the All-Decade Team of the 2010s, Harris feels he has earned the right to not have to play in a structured environment to get ready for a season. He said he stays in great shape during the offseason in Dallas.
“Just taking it day-by-day,” he said. “Just enjoying this free time. I’m in no rush.”
Before he commits to a possible 13th season, Harris wants to spend as much time as he can with his family, which includes wife Leah and four daughters. His daughters, ranging in age from 3 to 8, play soccer and softball.
Considering what Harris did in his nine Broncos seasons, that does beg the question: Would he ever consider returning to Denver?
“I’ll definitely be able to come and visit,” he said. “I don’t know about playing. I think they’re in a different era now. They pretty much cleaned out (players). They got a whole new team now, whole new coaches. It’s a whole new organization. New owners.”
Harris, who went undrafted in 2011, played for the Broncos under head coaches John Fox, Gary Kubiak and Vance Joseph and had a year under Vic Fangio in 2019. Fangio was fired after the 2021 season. Denver then had Nathaniel Hackett and interim coach Jerry Rosburg last year. And now Sean Payton is in his first year in charge.
The pinnacle of Harris’ career was winning a Super Bowl with the Broncos after the 2015 season. He would welcome the opportunity to get another ring.
“I want to wait and see what team has a great chance to win a Super Bowl and then try to hop on with them,” he said.
Harris believes he could help a team that “needs another veteran presence.” And he made note of not having been moved away from outside cornerback, which is what happens to some in their 30s.
“I feel ready to go,” he said. “I don’t have any issues. I feel great. I haven’t even got a chance to play safety or anything like that. I’ve been playing corner for 12 years. I definitely still got a lot left.”
It must be said, though, that Harris won’t really be ready to go until September gets much closer.