Read here from jsonline. Interesting that this rumor appears to have been started by Al himself – who states in the article that each of the last few weeks he thought he’d be activated only to not get the call.Now he thinks his departure is imminent – because I believe tomorrow is the last day PUP guys can be activated.
My initial reaction to this – and the reaction that seems to be lingering – is that this is not a good idea. I know the NFL is a business and that sometimes “business decisions” have to be made. But that is exactly why I don’t like this: I think this is a bad business decision. I can’t pretend to know exactly what kind of shape Harris is in. And I am confident at this point that we have found a more than adequate replacement (Tramon is playing at or near Pro Bowl level, especially over the last few games). And, I realize Sam Shields has developed nicely and that our D overall appears to have balanced out and gotten its…stuff together.
But there are a few reasons why I wouldn’t drop him if I were TT/MM. First of all, having a smart veteran player on your roster at a position where injuries are somewhat common, who also happens to know a complex defensive system well, is an asset. Just like keeping Tauscher to now be a back-up for Bulaga makes sense. Unless Harris is way behind in his rehab (which we’ve been told is not the case), not only is it likely Harris could contribute positively if called upon, but he could mentor and help develop the younger guys – all while providing a stabilizing veteran leadership presence in the locker room. And his contributions don’t need to be as a starter – he could help on nickel/dime situation and/or special teams. Al Harris is by most accounts a popular player with other players. He has built a bond over his time here with other members of the defensive unit in particular. To release him at this point in the season after he’s worked his tail off all off-season to come back could fracture the team a bit because it won’t be a popular move. Add in there the threat that he could end up at a rival (like the Vikes…ugh) and the timing of all this just seems poor. And on a very basic level, I don’t think dropping Harris in favor of keeping some 53rd spot special teams scrub is an equal trade-off.