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For Harris, It's All Football All the Time


David Harris during a Michigan game

David Harris wasn't doing a promo for the excellent Sunday morning New York Jets TV show, but he easily could have been. Asked if he had time between minicamp practices to dine out, take in a Broadway show, play a video game, the second-round rookie smiled his big, friendly smile and offered an opaque answer.

"No, it's football 24-7," Harris said. "The first couple of days of minicamp, I just hit the playbook. I'm trying to come in here and get everything down."

It's impossible, of course, to tell exactly how well a given rookie is doing at an NFL minicamp in a pair of 50-minute media windows, whether he's making a splash or he's swimming or he's about to be voted off the island.

But Harris has the looks of a keeper and the 6'2", 243-pound linebacker has nothing on his mind but his new playbook.

That's just the way head coach Eric Mangini likes it.

"David's showing some things in those tackling drills and those punt return drills and even as he's getting a better feel for how the runs are, how they hit, how the blocking scheme works, you can see some of the positive traits he showed in college," Mangini said in between Sunday's practices. "It's not just his raw ability, but seeing that ability translate into understanding how the run is going to hit, how it's blocked, and that overall ability put into the context of an actual drill or a play."

"I feel like I'm a Jet, just getting used to everything," said the former Michigan star. "It's a big step coming from college. You just make strides and get used to it."

Harris probably will be helped in his Wolverine-to-Jet transition by several things. For one, he already some friends on the team. One is linebackers coach Jim Herrmann, who was his defensive coordinator at Michigan until he came to the Jets last year. The other is a fellow UM linebacker, Victor Hobson.

"I knew Victor in college. He was a fifth-year senior and I was a freshman redshirt," Harris said.  "I knew him back then, but those guys didn't really talk to us. But I met him out here while I was training in New Jersey and on the set of a show on SportsNet New York."

Yes, the Michigander born and bred got a little taste of the Northeast long before the Jets traded up with Green Bay to take him in Round 2 two weeks ago. Harris trained at the vaunted Parisi Speed School in Fair Lawn, N.J., for two months before participating in the combine workouts.

"And I got over to New York to see Times Square," he said, admitting to doing a little sightseeing. "It's a great city, just like you see in the movies."

Now Harris has a chance to add to the cinematic aura of the metro area by adding his talents to the Green & White defense.

It's not the Jets' way to list their 'backers as inside or outside. "I'm just a linebacker, a football player," he said. "I'll go in and do what I'm coached to do."

But he's big and bull-necked and mature and looks for all the world like a place where long inside running plays go to die.

Mangini concluded about Harris the person and the player:

"I really liked David's inherent leadership, his presence. The person we researched is the person who's here."

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