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My Favourite Jets: #3
I hope you’re all having a great start to your morning. Just a reminder that this post has been pre-written as I’m in Spain for a family holiday and to celebrate my birthday. So if there has been any breaking news then I apologize for not covering it, but anything that breaks this week will be covered early next week.
I’m continuing the countdown of my favorite Jets today with #3 on the list. This is not a list of the best Jets players to ever play the game, more a list of my favorite Jets for one reason or another.
On Monday we focused on wide receiver Don Maynard and yesterday we touched on Quarterback Chad Pennington, today we’re moving to the defensive side of the ball…not to the secondary, and Darrelle Revis as most would expect, but instead to the Hitman, David Harris.
The reluctant star, and I don’t mean star in the way that Joe Namath was a star, I mean a star based on his consistent performance. Harris was always willing to talk about his teammates, but as soon as you tried to turn the attention to his own performance he would instantly recoil, he had no time to talk about the individual in a team sport, he never craved the spotlight and never felt comfortable with the bright lights…but he earned them.
"Today in society, it seems like everybody likes that spotlight on them," he said. "I try, in a way I guess, to show these guys that there's a different way to do things rather than being a guy who's starving for attention. You go out there and do your job, do it at a high level, be respectable and carry yourself without needing the spotlight on you” - Harris 2014
It always pains me when a longtime Jet heads to Foxborough and signs on with the dark side, but David Harris signing with New England in 2017 hurt more than most. It hurt more than Revis winning a ring with Bill, and that’s simply because Harris was one of my all-time favorite Jets, a true leader on the field, and a bit of a throwback to what a linebacker used to be like. He was a stout 6’2, 250lb thumper.
I’ll always remember Harris for his first-quarter interception of Tom Brady in the 2010 Divisional game, one of the greatest games I’ve ever witnessed as a Jets fan. But making the flashy play wasn’t really in his arsenal, he wasn’t that kind of player. He was the kind of player that every single successful franchise in sports history needs, he was consistently good, consistently reliable, and consistently available.
I’m not a huge fan of Mike Tannenbaum, although based on what we’ve seen recently he’s the most successful Jets GM in recent memory. But I’ll always appreciate his move to secure the services of Harris. During the 2007 NFL Draft Tannenbaum sent picks #63, #89 and #192 to the Green Bay Packers to move up 16 slots to pick #47 to grab Harris.
I always remember Rex Ryan in particular speaking about the importance of Harris, not load off the field but a natural leader on it. He was the MIKE linebacker, the guy who called the defensive signals and ensured that everybody was lined up in the right spot and knew what their assignment was. It wasn’t just the coaches, but teammates absolutely raved about his talent and leadership and that hard-nosed worker was relatable to New Yorkers and the Jets fanbase in particular, I related to it as an introverted guy.
For a long time, we took defending the run for granted. The Jets had the #1 defense in football in 2009 and top-5 run defense, a large part of that was David Harris. Now we worry about our linebackers and their gap assignments, of course, it helped to have those bug guys up front but Harris was always in the right place at the right time. He was Mr reliability.
He finished his career with 1,110 tackles, 37 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, 6 interceptions, and one defensive touchdown. I hope that one day he finds his way to the ring of honor, but if he doesn’t..you’re unlikely to hear any complaints from Harris, who’s happily retired in Ann Arbour, Michigan.
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