Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris expects to play against the Browns on Sunday, one week after landing on the inactive list for the team’s game against the Bengals.
Harris was listed as out with a sore knee, but he said the injury report wasn’t true and coach Lovie Smith indicated that performance, not health, was the reason why he wasn’t in the lineup. Harris met with reporters on Friday and answered a question about whether or not he felt he had something to prove to Smith as the season progresses.
“I don’t have to show him anything,” Harris said. “He knows what I can
do. Everybody knows what I can do. I don’t have to prove anything to
anybody. I prove it to myself. I owe it to my teammates. I owe it to this organization to get back to tip-top shape.”
Harris is both right and wrong. He’s right that he owes it to the organization that paid him a $6.67 million roster bonus to be in tip-top shape and be physically able to contribute to the team in practice and on Sundays. He’s also right about everyone knowing what he can do on the field. He’s wrong about not having to prove he can still do it, however.
Harris has not been the destructive force that he was in past years to this point in the season. That’s why he got a four-year, $40 million contract in 2008 and why the Bears gave him that roster bonus. If he doesn’t prove that he’s still capable of impacting offenses negatively, they’ll probably come up with a different decision before he’s due another $2.5 million in June.
Whatever else he said, Harris seems to understand the position he’s in with the team.
“If you give a guy a whole bunch of money to perform or you ran a
Fortune 500 company and the guy didn’t produce like he did, what are
you supposed to do?”
Harris has 10 games to prove he can produce the way he did in the past or the Bears will probably show him what you’re supposed to do.