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NFL Cornerback Goes From Underdog to Top Dog

He keeps football passing games out of reach! Denver Broncos Chris Harris Jr. is said to be the NFL’s Best Coverage Cornerback. The 3-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champion - entered the league undrafted – turning his underdog NFL entry - into top dog billing!

Question: “The 18 Madden rankings come out. Chris Harris, Jr., at the very, very top. So what separates the best from the rest?”                               

Harris Jr.: “I would say consistency. Guys that are consistent from week 1 to week 16 should be rated top and I’ve been blessed to be the top-ranked guy two years in a row and that’s something I want to make three.”

Question: “No fly zone, sacred territory for your secondary. Take us there. What are you going through in those four quarters against your opponent?”                                                                                                    

Harris Jr.: “It’s a lot of focus, a lot of – everything that you prepare all week. You’re just waiting for that one play that you’ve been studying all week to come out there and make that play. As a cornerback, you only get probably about 5 chances to really impact the game. And that’s why that preparation comes in handy.”

Question: “You’ve got a money smile, brother.”

Harris Jr.: “I always have been a guy that’s always smiling, always laughing. And really, my family, man. Just them right there, when I see my little girls, I mean, that’s just an automatic smile right there.”     

Question: “So you leave Kansas with some unbelievable achievement. But the 2011 NFL draft leaves you empty. What were you telling yourself at that point?”                                                                                                            

Harris Jr.: “It’s something I’ve been praying for when I was in college. Then I also had the lock out. Not getting drafted and then not being able to have any contact with anybody in the NFL–from April until July. A lot of people, even family members telling me I wasn’t going to make it. I should stop. I should go to the next phase of my life. But I had faith, man. And I think that really—I just kept working and got ready for when they –I got that call from Denver.”

Question: “You identify with the underdog. Who is the underdog?”      

Harris Jr.:  “The underdog is a person that’s at-risk, a person that has a lot of big trials you have to overcome. I mean that was my life.  Me - coming from a single parent home. I didn’t have offers coming out of high school. So I had to really have faith and lean on Jesus for everything because nothing was given to me. I had to really work for everything. I’m definitely an underdog. I think Jesus made me be in that situation to be able to relate to more people. That’s why give back to the at-risk kids.”       

Question: “In your Christ following, when do you see His support to help you with that?”                                                                                                       

Harris Jr.: “Every day, man, especially in this business of football. You got to get on your knees multiple times a day, man, just thanking God. I pray while I’m on the field because He has to be with me. One injury away from being done from playing football for the rest of my life or just that fast it can happen. So I just always got to pray for that covering. Make sure He’s with me out there making plays with me. God wants to be involved in everything that you do. And I just try to involve Him. And that’s what God said to do, man, to help build up His kingdom.”      

Question: “So with the success, the recognition, the NFL contracts that come with it, so many distractions for you, how do you keep your focus and commitment in following Him?”                                                                   

Harris Jr.: “Me and my wife have been on the same kind of routine since we got married, man. Just praying together in the morning, praying at night together. And I think having her, that support right there! Most guys in the NFL sometimes they forget the bigger picture.  The bigger picture’s always my kids, I always try to make sure they grow up in the right home, I set the right example for them. Because I didn’t always have my father there for me and my sister didn’t have that either. So I just want to make sure they grow up different. They grow up seeing how marriage is supposed to be and I think that’s what really gives me motivation.”

Question: “Chris! Compassion. How important is it for you to be a conduit from Him to others?”                             

Harris Jr.: “It’s huge. Because you got to meet people where they are. And a lot of times these kids are—they’re really low. And a lot of kids, it’s hard to relate to some of these guys that had a lot of things handed to him their whole life and I just try to meet them where they are. And I think that’s something that Jesus did with us!”

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