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How Shelby Harris completely screwed up and won the Broncos the game

Zac Stevens Avatar
November 26, 2018

DENVER — Shelby Harris’ 2018 Thanksgiving weekend has been a script straight out of Hollywood — one Rudy could only dream of.

“This week has been really good. This week has just been huge. I am really just living my best life. I am happy; I cannot complain,” Harris said grinning ear-to-ear after the Denver Broncos season-changing 24-17 victory on Sunday. “I am on cloud nine.”

Harris’ holiday weekend truly became special one day after Thanksgiving when he and his wife welcomed the birth of their baby, Evelyn.

“I have a beautiful, healthy family. My wife is a trouper—she had a C-section—they are doing great,” Harris said. “Just really running on fumes these last [few] days, but I am truly blessed and really cannot complain.”

Twenty-four hours later, on those fumes, Harris had his best game of 2018 — pressuring Ben Roethlisberger on multiple occasions including a split sack with Von Miller.

But Shelby saved his best for last.

With 67 seconds left on the clock, the Broncos’ defense was backed up on its own two-yard line, death-gripping to a seven-point lead.

On 3rd-and-2, Roethlisberger faked a handoff to James Conner, pulled the ball back and slung it over the middle of the field for Antonio Brown.

Out of nowhere, in Roethlisberger’s perspective, the 6-foot-2, 290-pound lineman leaped and came down with the ball with his arms tightly wrapped around it like a newborn baby.

Interception Broncos.

Game over.

Game ball to Shelby Harris.

If it couldn’t get any better, Harris admitted after the game he might have had luck on his side.

“I actually did not do what I was supposed to do, but it ended up working out pretty well,” Harris said with a chuckle, detailing his interception.

“During the play, honestly, I did not know what [Roethlisberger] was trying to do. It was supposed to be a run, and he decided to pull it and just throw it. Honestly, I saw it floating up there and [I] just caught it. I [thought about] trying to return it, but no, I am a little too tired for that, so I dropped to the ground and then just laid there.”

When asked what exactly he didn’t do correctly, he allowed himself some leeway, stating he “kind of did what [he] was supposed to do but kind of didn’t,” adding he still didn’t know if the play was a designed run or a designed pass.

“It worked out,” he said, maintaining a constant chuckle. “I was going to be in the same place but kind of going more forward. I was just sitting there staring at what he was doing. But it worked out, though. I’m not trippin’.”

“He just stepped back, and the ball dropped right into his arms!” Exclaimed Derek Wolfe of the potentially lucky play. “He’s got a horseshoe up his butt, I’m telling you.”

In a play that may never be fully understood, Roethlisberger saw an opening in the middle of the field. But by the time he wound up and slung it, Harris was all over it.

When asked if he thought ‘Big Ben’ saw him on the play, Harris responded with a laugh.

“I do not know, but the ball saw me.”

After seeing and finding the ball, one person that Harris didn’t see in the stadium was his wife. She remains in the hospital with their daughter.

“It made me almost cry,” the mountain of a man said of not seeing his wife in the stands.

In Shelby’s words, there will not be a celebration on Sunday night after he made the play of his life. Instead, Harris will go spend the night with his healthy baby, healthy wife, and healthy family.

“After this, I will drink some water, maybe a Gatorade, sit in the car, drive to the hospital and sit there the rest of the night,” Harris said, breaking his usual smile as he became emotional. “I cannot wait to go see them.”

Like most who show up to the delivery wing, Harris will come bearing gifts. He plans to give his game ball to his baby daughter.


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