Last season Erik Harris finished strong. He started the final three games of the season and had an interception in two of those games — the first of which was the first of his career. And it was a gorgeous, over-the-shoulder grab on a deep ball. It was the culmination of a long road for Erik Harris. I asked him about it in the latest Silver & Black Pridecast.
“It was a big adrenaline rush,” Harris said of the interception. “I got the interception and I got up and I had so many plans and then I think it was Tyler Boyd came out of nowhere. I saw the guy in front of me and I felt someone coming to my right, so I thought ‘just get down, don’t give the ball back, don’t ruin this moment. It was a great feeling, but it was well overdue.”
Harris noted a couple previous instances he got close to picking off the ball in week 7 against the Colts and a ball he tipped to give Reggie Nelson an interception in week 12 in Baltimore.
The week after his first interception, he had his second. This time it was in a win. A big win against the division rival Broncos in the Oakland home finale.
“It’s always better when you come out with a win. You can celebrate it more, you can talk about it more. You feel like you helped with the win,” Harris continued. “Whenever you lose and you have a good game statistically, you just feel like you still didn’t do enough. You think about all the bad plays that you had and what you could’ve done better.”
In total Harris started four games last season. They were his first career starts after playing solely on special teams for the Raiders in 2017 and for the Saints in 2016.
“A big goal of mine was to get that special teams label off of me. I’ll be 29 this year and I was 28 during the season and I just thought it was a big time in my career and an important time in my life that this was the year for that to happen.”
Harris is hoping he can continue the momentum he started late last season and again be a strong contributor on defense for the Raiders next season. He has spent most of the past month being a dad to his four kids including his new four month old.
In between, he stopped in at the Senior Bowl in Mobile to meet his new GM Mike Mayock and say hello to his coaches. He also had never experienced the Senior Bowl being that he was not a big time prospect from small school California (PA). He’s also putting together a couple football camps, including one in Louisiana at the Pelican Athletic Club Marsh 4-6.
Harris has a pretty inspiring story which you can read here. He is doing everything he can to pass that on to others. His message to young players? “Being patient. This league is all about opportunity and timing.” His message to anyone: “anybody that may be struggling and thinking that they can’t reach their dreams or their dreams are out of sight. Just to never give up and continue to work at what your goal is.”
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