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Chris Harris Jr. explains why Vic Fangio’s defense is “everything I’ve been crying about”

Zac Stevens Avatar
May 29, 2019

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Chris Harris Jr. is back.

After missing nearly two full months of the offseason workout program while seeking a new contract, Denver’s star cornerback took part in his first practice under new head coach Vic Fangio on Wednesday.

With the contract situation settled, and a cool $3 million pay raise under his belt, the $12.05 million cornerback only has two things on his mind.

“I’m not even worried about the dispute. Everything’s in the past,” he said on Wednesday in “cold” Colorado, after spending his offseason in the Texas heat training. “Now it’s about winning football games.”

Along with stacking up Ws, the veteran cornerback can’t get his mind off the new defense that he’ll be allowed to feast in.

“This is everything that I’ve been crying about doing,” Harris Jr. said with a massive smile, talking about Fangio’s defense. “I like it. I love it so far. I think it’s going to fit us well.”

Even when the 29-year old believed he would be traded in the offseason, Harris Jr. was crying over this defense. Tears of joy, that is.

In multiple conversations over the past few months with fellow star Von Miller, the two didn’t focus on Harris’ contract dispute. Instead, they talked about how perfect the defense is for Chris.

“The way this defense is set up, man, it’s going to be a lot. It’s going to be confusing. We’re going to be able to disguise. We’re going to be able to make quarterbacks think, instead of just coming out there and y’all know we’re in man,” he said, singing a similar tune as the rest of his teammates have this offseason.

Harris Jr. has been nothing short of excellent in his tenure with the Broncos. But he hasn’t received the national attention he deserves, in large part due to his interceptions numbers never exploding as quarterbacks have rarely had to throw his way.

Thanks to Vic, Chris doesn’t believe that will be the case this year.

“Now, I don’t have to play a guy man to man and cover him all over the field like I have in the past. Now I can read. I think my picks will go way up now because I’ll have a chance to read the quarterback more,” he said, beaming with confidence. “I get to show y’all a different skill set that I got.”

Not only did the Broncos add a mastermind to lead the defense, but they also added two top secondary players in the offseason with Kareem Jackson and Bryce Callahan.

“We got guys that are very flexible and can play everywhere. Guys that are smart. I want to take the pressure off of them,” he explained, explaining how the three top secondary players fit in with each other. “If they want to put me on [Antonio Brown] Week 1, I’m ready for that. Whoever is the top receiver, I’m ready for that. Any pressure to take off those guys, let those guys play free, let me take on the big challenge every week. I’m ready for that.”

Despite entering a contract year—in which he says he’ll “definitely” give the Broncos a shot to re-sign him—the all-pro corner’s focus is on doing whatever he can to help the team.

But that certainly doesn’t mean he won’t be helping himself in the process.

“My job in this defense is to make plays and do whatever I can to take the pressure off those guys,” he said.

After a contentious two-month contract dispute added to the fact he’ll be hitting the open market in less than a year, Chris said he’s still going to be Chris—the player who went from receiving a $2,000 signing bonus as an undrafted free agent to bringing in the fourth-most cash for a cornerback in 2019.

“I’m going to be me. I’m going to bring a swagger to this defense. I’m going to bring a different mentality for this defense,” he explained with fire and fiery. “I’m ready to take on whoever. Whoever is the best, I want them. And I’m up to the challenge. Same competitor. Same fighter on the field. Nothing’s changed when it comes between these lines. I’m going to do the best to be me on the field each week.”

After crying over how perfect this defense is for him, Chris hopes to make opposing quarterbacks cry after going up against him each and every week.

He might even hope he makes the Broncos cry by not locking him up past 2019.


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