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Returning from Injury, Harris Ready for First Test

Posted Aug 5, 2014

The swing tackle will return to the field for the team’s first preseason game.

After suffering an ankle injury in Week 5 of the 2013 season, Mike Harris is looking forward to seeing his first game-action since October.

“I’m doing everything I can to prepare myself for Thursday,” Harris said.  “It’ll be a good test for us, especially for me (since) it’s my first game back in a while.  It’s been a long process recovering from my ankle injury so I’ll just be happy to be out there playing hard for my team.”

At 6-5, 318-pounds, the swing tackle said the mental aspect of adjusting to the injury was almost harder than the physical.

“It was tough,” he said.  “Nobody wants to be on the sideline when their buddies are out there playing hard.  But I’m fortunate to come back because my ankle’s fine.”

Under the direction of Offensive Line Coach Joe D'Alessandris, the camaraderie of the o-line is infectious.  Whether they’re competing against one another or practicing with each other, Harris knows the bond they share will translate to their on-field success.

“We’re a tight group.  All five have to be on the same page for us to succeed.  Our coach teaches communication and trust and that’s what we try to do.  Just be on the same page.”

As has been noted, D'Alessandris preaches versatility.  In order to bolster the line, he rotates players on either side making his right guards and tackles play left and left play right.  Harris, who’s had to be the next man up in year’s past, understands that this line switching helps not only his teammates, but also the team in the long run.

“Every one of us has to be able to play another position,” he said.  “I go from right tackle to left tackle and other guys are playing guard and center.  It’s just because we only can dress so many guys so in case somebody goes down, the next guy has to step up.”

Two of those guys Harris looks up to are King Dunlap and D.J. Fluker.  Working in the trenches under the summer sun can be arduous, but Harris enjoys soaking up all he can from his two teammates.

“They bring it everyday.  They just make me want to be better because they both are top tier tackles and I strive to be like them and compete against them.”

With Thursday’s first preseason game just a mere few days away, Harris can’t wait to put his hard work from his road to recovery to the test.

“We’ve got to come out and play physical as a line, and as an offense we’ve got to put up some points.”

Best part about the first game?  Not having to line up against your teammates anymore.

“You get tired going up against the same guys so we’ve just got to prepare ourselves for Thursday and come out and play hard,” he said.  “It’s going to be great.” 


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