Chicago Sun-Times

Confusing case: Harris says sore knee isn't why he missed game

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CINCINNATI--I'm pushing off to the airport here very soon but I wanted to put together some contrasting takes on the situation involving Tommie Harris and why he did not play Sunday in the 45-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

That's because this story is becoming more bizarre. I wrote about it here in the print and online edition of the newspaper but want to use this space to tie together the comments by the men involved and let their words speak.

First, here is what we know: Harris did not practice any day last week. Coach Lovie Smith said following the loss at Atlanta that Harris was dealing with soreness in his chronic left knee. He was listed on the injury report all week, and was classified as doubtful Friday afternoon when the final report came out.

Harris did some work on the field at Paul Brown Stadium about two hours before kickoff, not unlike work rehabbing players do from time to time before games even when they're not playing. It didn't look to be anything too rigorous. He was in shorts and a T-shirt. Anyway, let's back up to last week first.

General manager Jerry Angelo appeared on WSCR 670-AM last Thursday morning, before Harris had missed his second practice of the week, and was asked about the player:

"Tommie is healthy. That is not an issue,'' Angelo said.

"We've seen the flashes during the games. So I feel good he has the physical traits to continue to be a top rusher and really that is what we're looking for Tommie to do. On Sunday, we haven't seen the consistency, I think he would say the same thing. Parts are there but again the tape is the tape. We'll continue to coach him and monitor him. Hopefully we're going to see the things he can do on a real basis for four quarters.''

Move forward a day to post-practice on Friday in the Walter Payton Center when Smith was asked about Harris:

Smith announced Harris was doubtful for the game, and deflected questions about him by talking about the players who had been practicing. "Tommie hasn't dominated yet. But eventually some day he will,'' Smith said. ``Right now he has some soreness, he hasn't practiced. There's nothing else really for me to go into about Tommie.''

Harris spoke in the locker room after the game Sunday. Here is what he said:

Q: ARE YOU FRUSTRATED THIS HAS LINGERED FOR YOU?

TH: What's lingered?

Q: THE KNEE?

TH: It wasn't true.

THAT'S NOT TRUE? YOU MISSED THE GAME BECAUSE THE KNEE WAS SORE?

TH: No.

Q: WHAT IS IT?

TH: You talk to them.

Q: WAS THE KNEE THE REASON YOU DIDN'T PLAY?

TH: No. You talk to them. If you came here earlier, you saw, I worked out before the game.

Q: DID THEY SUSPEND YOU?

TH: No. I'm not suspended.

Q: DO YOU EXPECT TO BE BACK NEXT WEEK?

TH: I don't know. I don't talk if I don't play. I didn't play today. Talk to them.

Q: ARE THEY TRYING PUSH YOUR BUTTONS/MOTIVATE YOU?

TH: I don't know.

Q: ARE YOU UPSET WITH THEM?

TH: I don't know.

Q: ARE YOU SURPRISED YOU DIDN'T PLAY TODAY?

TH: No.

Q: WHOSE IDEA WAS IT THAT YOU WOULDN'T PRACTICE LAST WEEK?

TH: You ask them. You know who to talk to.


Now, a team source said on Friday that Harris had extra treatments on his left knee last week and that, indeed, he was dealing with soreness. Harris says the sore knee isn't the reason he missed the game. The Bears would stand nothing to gain by sitting him out in an important game against a high-powered offense.

Granted, he wouldn't have made up a 35-point difference on Sunday, but they wouldn't be holding him out for the heck of it. The Bears aren't going to monkey with the injury report either, and there's been no known instances of them being shady with it in the past. Yet something doesn't add up here. Something is terribly off, and the Bears need Harris to perform for them. We'll see if anyone chooses to illuminate this subject today because it's been shady since Smith announced at the start of training camp that Harris was 100 percent. It's time for the real deal.

Stay tuned.

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20 Comments

Regarding Tommie, it's most likely one of three things:

1. Look at his contract. Perhaps the Bears are trying to keep him from reaching certain levels by holding him out from time to time. I have no idea what his contract looks like, I'm just sayin.

2. They wanted to punish him/send a message. Maybe they're sick of his lack of effort on the field and in the training room. Maybe he missed more training sessions to try to get the knee back to 100%.

3. They needed an excuse to get a good look at Gaines "All Neck" Adams. Seriously?!? This dude looks like a WR. I guess they don't make jereseys for defensive lineman any smaller, as his looked like he swimming in his.

Non Tommie-wise.... ummm, this whole "speed kills' theory on defense is outdated and ineffective. The Cover-2 may have been all the rage 4-5 years ago, but teams have learned how to beat it. It's been pretty evident since the Super Bowl loss how to kill the Bears. Our lean, "fast" defensive line is simply outmatched. How about getting some bulk to help clog the running lanes?

Wow, what a low point for the Beloved.

This whole season, I've been giving Lovie the benefit of the doubt, and putting all the blame on the offensive line and Ron Turner. Now I'm convinced that Lovie needs to go, too. Pace and Omiyale should have been riding pine this game to make room for some lineman that aren't turnstiles. We're a few missed field goals away from being 1 - 5.

Please, please, please, bring in Cowher or Shanahan or somebody that actually knows how to make adjustments.

Lovie, you told us to trust you after all the changes after the Super Bowl loss. Well, somewhere Thomas Jones and Ron Rivera are laughing, and the loyal fans of the Chicago Bears are shaking their collective heads.

Brad,

You should ask Tommie Harris the following questions...has he showed up to all meetings on time? Has he followed the recommended treatment plans subscribed by Bears trainers without exceptions?

I think if you ask these questions you will find Tommie has shown up late to several meetings including training room treatments and has not followed the treatment plan he agreed to with the Bears...include the fact he was out of shape coming into camp and you can figure out the rest.

This is fact.

After a performance like that by the team yesterday, we get this soap opera crap out of them with regard to Tommie....

Anybody that has watched him play this season can tell you he's done. We are paying premier DT money to a guy who is barely able to go through the motions. Outside of 1 tackle for a loss, has he made any plays? Has he been in the backfield? Has he demanded double teams by his "disruptive" style? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding NO.

What I don't like about this is the secrecy and lack of integrity. The coaching staff is always more worried about a player's feelings, and not about winning. If Tommie is playing like crap, and you want to put players on the field who can do a better job, then come out and say it. If he is dogging it and not working hard, then call him out on it!

I think it says it all with this Lovie quote:

Smith announced Harris was doubtful for the game, and deflected questions about him by talking about the players who had been practicing. "Tommie hasn't dominated yet. But eventually some day he will,'' Smith said. ``Right now he has some soreness, he hasn't practiced. There's nothing else really for me to go into about Tommie.''

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Eventually some day he will.....Burgess Meredith had it right in Grumpy Old Men...."You can wish and hope in one hand, and you can crap in the other...See which one fills up first." (paraphrased slightly)

The wheels are coming off this team, and it is getting worse every week. We are not stopping anyone, and we have turned from a "bend, don't break" to a "bend, and pretend you're in prison" defense...
Cutler has zero time to throw the ball, and Forte, while he deserves some blame for his own play, is getting nailed in the backfield on half of his runs. This team is too talented, and too well paid to be playing this poorly. We get the Browns next week, which is the equivalent of a non-contact scrimmage. We had better roll over them like the Germans over the French...If not, then we should be making plans for a new coaching staff, and a dramatic roster turnover....

Time for a change in Chicago. The team was truly uninspired a true disappointment to the hallowed history of the Chicago Bears.

Harris is a problem, it appears to me that with the statements made "talk to them" that Harris is doing his best to cause a rift between management and the players. Harris has always been immature in the manner in which he has acted in the past and he continues to be with comments like this.

As for Lovie, Turner and maybe even Angelo, it appears to me it is time to get some new direction, some discipline and desire back in the players. Lovie and Turner simply are not getting it done, both need to be sent packing to other locales.

From mid year on in the Superbowl year, the air was starting to come out of the balloon, now it is a full blown gusher. The players are not motivated, they make stupid mistakes, are not disciplined as all championship teams are, they are not prepared game in and game out. This team was a joke yesterday, I was embarrassed for them. My wife asks me why I keep supporting the loser Bears, well I guess when you have been doing since 63 it kind of like getting up and taking a whiz, it just happens. The Bears make me sick (today) and I have no idea why I still love em!!

Wow, Brad. Something is indeed very wrong here. All 3 statements cannot be true at all.
It is bad enough that a player key to making the Tampa Bay 2 Defense work was made Inactive for a game against both a high powered successful offense (which had to contribute to such a horrid horrid Bears defensive game) and a dominant Benson (who the Bears had to wished would not have a big day against them)... For Smith to do this, for Angelo to go along with this... It has to be very serious.
Well, whatever the true story is, it will not stay hidden. Not now. Good job of fact finding and reporting.

AGREE with cma 100%
Lovie and the tampa 2 has to go! Take Angelo with you!
Lovie had his shot and it came and went - so should he
The Tampa 2 defense is the reason that Urlacher hasn't played up to his potential. Get some beef on the D line so that our LB's can rack up the tackles just like the olden days.
We finally have an NFL QB, too bad everything else is crumbling down around him.
Lovie has to go!!!
Cowher should be the Bears next Coach!

This team is not as good as many think.
Bad coaching, ten interceptions in 6 games, no running attack, awful blocking, soft and porous defense. Definitely no playoffs this year with the teams we already lost to.

I have contended since the paternity "morals"melt down that Mr. Harris is a head case. I have no idea what Mr. Angelo was thinking giving this man child all the money. He should be cut and the Bears better start evaluating every DT free on the street or a practice squad. This defense needs a do over, ideally with the current coaching staff not involved next year. Another wasted season. Pray Cutler survives the rush until the end of the year. O line needs major upgrade also. Mr. Angelo, are you listening?

Way to go Tommie Harris! Not only have you managed to piss off the entire fanbase but now you're basically accusing your coach and GM of injury report violations which the NFL WILL INVESTIGATE. Keep cashing those unearned checks though you farking douche!

Now it makes sense why the defense didn't show up yesturday. The Bears are getting shady once again. The fans can't trust them, the players can't trust them. Turner, Lovie, Angelo, Phillips...they all need to go.

Da Church: When refering to the pissing off of the fan base, you are preaching to the quire. But don't jump the gun on the NFL investigation on JA and the coaching staff being a negative. If they in fact have committed an illegal act I for one believe that they should face the repercussions and God willing they could get fired. Now tell me thats not a silver lining to us wishing for that change. But my buddy and I last night at the bar when venting after that crack head of a performance came up with a wild conspiracy theory: what if the player are all in cahoots by deliberately playing horrendously so that the coaching staff would get fired? Huh? Probably false beyond reproach, but still a nice fantasy for us to possess.

Don't know what is going on with this injury thing, but I think we should give Tommie some credit. WIthout him in the rotation, the d-line was obliterated. Would his presence have won the game? No. But go back to last year when Harris was out, and the Bears run defense was terrible then as well. Tommie may only be playing at 60 percent, but at 60 percent he is better than any other option they have. Honestly, I feel sorry for the guy. It's not like he wants to be injured, or wants his knee to feel miserable. My best guess with this situation is that the Bears held him out to get him some extra treatment, hoping that it would get him back to dominant form. Maybe they even saw him starting to slow up a little as the season went on. Harris comments were coming after a miserable showing of the d-line. He's angry that he wasn't out there. He thinks he could have helped. Maybe he even didn't think the extra treatment would be that beneficial. Tommie doesn't always think before he speaks, and my guess is that this was emotion more than fact. Kind of like a lot of these comments on this story. Whatever the case, I think Bears fans, and the media, owe him a little bit of an apology. First, the Bears defense can't be effective unless Harris returns to dominant form. Well, that didn't happen, and they were effective. Then Harris is worthless. He makes no difference whatsoever. The Bears don't need him. Sunday's game seemed to say otherwise. And I for one can't want to get him back.

ahhhh....hariss is A BUST!! i tells you loosers beasrs taht he is injured for TWO HOLE YEARS ans waht do ytou now????? man i am allwyars right!! HAHAHA I AM KING!

but you guy now me old crap-ton...just tyriung to be posative...

ps somtimes i wakew up in the middle of the nite SCREAMING ans my mommy says crap-ton wahts werong ans i say....oh mommy..i hads a a bad dream abot taht mean old BRANDO! boo hoo hoo!!

D Strong:

Whoa, you think the Bears fans and the media owe Tommie Harris an apology?

For what? For collecting millions and millions for making 1 tackle this year. He may have made more but I did not research it, but certainly not many more. Harris is suppossed to be the stud and the leader of the Defense, particularly since Urlacher left. All Harris does is stir the pot and make it worse than it already is, he was suspended last year for actions detrimental to the team and most likely will be again with these little games he plays with the media indicating his knee is fine?

Believe me I do not think for a minute that the coaching has been good this year, but I also believe that T Harris has not been good for 2 years while being paid as one of the best in the league for his position.

Tommie Harris should apolgize to the fans and media not vice versa, this is not a touchy feely feel good world, it is a world that is either produce or get out, with Harris I am starting to believe the Bears may be better off without him than with him, AKA a Terrell Owens type personality or rotten apple spoiling the bunch.

That was one of the worst performances in a long-time, thank goodness I missed watching the game, but from what I heard from radio updates we were never in it! The players and coaches need a serious gut check, looking at Brad's upcoming schedule I can see some wins coming, but that will only camoflage what we see as a team that has no playmakers on either side of the ball. Yes, they are young in the secondary and playing our 2nd string LB's for the most part, but up front on defense is where we are getting hammered. CEDRIC got damn near 2oo yards on the ground, anyway you look at it that's on the d-line, two straight weeks no pressure and no sacks, and everyone wonders why Gaines Adams was brought in! This thing with Tommie Harris really pissed me off, he did not play because of what?.....SHEETDID something stinks there, I see a fine coming at the very least....we had nothing on offense obviously and Cutler is throwin way too many picks...Lovie I've backed you heavily over the past year, its time to step-up and admit that you can't run cover-2 with no pass rush against dart throwers like Manning, Palmer and Brady....put Bowman and Tillman in press coverage sometimes shake things up a bit, and let the safeties stay deep at least make the slant a more difficult pattern to run against the defense, offensively where is the back-up tail back Angelo, Damn AP's been down two weeks and he is primarily a special teammer, there is no competition for Forte, he needs this to light a fire under him, yes there's no where to run, but he needs to know his production is not acceptable right now....This week Put the Pads on and do some HITTING in practice, the only one who should'nt get toched is Cutler, unless he throws three more picks, that's what would have happen to us if we had gotten blown out when I played...I said we could not afford to go 3-3 last week, well here we are, winnable games are coming up, but it's a pride factor right now, good teams don't respect us and as my man Sean Connery said in Untouchables...we do it the Chicago way, time to go back to hitting some people in the mouth......the Dent, Butkus, Singletary,and Hampton way, after this azz kickin....I would'nt want to be there next opponent, let see who steps up on this team and makes the same statement.

Doesn't anyone remember training camp? How about the end of last year? Remember when there were all of those media reports about Tommie not working hard, not showing up for the trainer, being late to meetings, and having off the field issues? That at one point, he issued a statement like "I am back. I will only be focused on football now"...I would say he fell back into the slump. They should really get him in to see a psychologist or something. Maybe he is depressed and needs some meds. He used to be dominant and smiling all the time. Everyone remembers that big Tommie Harris smile. Now, we don't know if he still smiles because the camera is never on him anymore. He doesn't make plays on the field and no one wants to talk to him off the field because he is neither the problem or the answer. He is simply a body on defense that is collecting a huge paycheck to not practice on during the week, show up late to meetings, and then not dominate on Sunday. I am telling you, something is mentally wrong with this guy.

Isn't it obvious? The Bears are benching Harris to help ensure they lose so that they can get a higher draft pick next year! It’s all part of Jerry's ‘diabological’ scheme. Too bad that higher draft pick doesn't come until the third round.
Seriously, this team is in trouble. Deep down this team is not playing inspired football. There is still way too much talent on this team to perform so poorly. Perhaps Cinci is better than we thought they were, but now nothing looks winnable.
It is obvious the defense lacks a ‘field general’ who can get into player’s faces during the huddle and get them to perform to their abilities.
As for the Offense, it is all about that line. It can’t get fixed this season, but management better be ready to open up their wallets in the off-season.
As for the Coaching staff? Well, I think we all know what the problem there is.

Brad allow me to help out this theory you are working on a little bit. If I was you I would give Hub a call over at PFW. Before the Gains Adams trade, PFW reported that the Bears where in talks with KC to make a trade for Glen Dorsey. Dorsey fits the 3 tech mold and has been misused in KC. Now they liked the trade for Adams better and pulled the trigger. But the fact reamins they where looking for a guy they thought could be a high end starting Under tackle. So if you bring him in who are you replacing? Something has been going on with Harris for awhile, this didn't start this week. This has been going on all year.

Creighton,
It would make sense about Dorsey, since he has a gimpy knee too....

But in all seriousness, I think you are right on the money. That is why Jarron Gilbert was our first choice in the draft this year, and why we are asking Melton to bulk up and move inside. We are in full scale mode to replace Tommie, and likely it will be this offseason, especially if there is an uncapped season, where the cap penalty will not matter if we release him.

Tommie quite frankly does not have what it takes to be a dominant player again, from a health perspective, nor from a desire perspective. He just doesn't care enough about football to be the best to play his position. He had more physical talent than Sapp as far as quickness and explosiveness, but not even half the desire to be the best, and nowhere near the strength Sapp brought to the field. We need to start making plans for the future, hopefully a future that does not involve the Tampa 2....

Gaines Adams looked like an undrafted fre agent in a pre-season game. His Jersey looked 2-sizes to big and if he is 258 pounds then I'm a rockstar !!

Seriously, Lovie needs to take a hike or take a serious philosiphy change to heart. His penchant for smaller, leaner, quicker players is slowly killing the team. The Bears are seriously undersized along the D-line and it's showing up on the field. The Bengals are not world beaters but their O-line averages about 322 pounds per man. The Bears starting D-line yesterday averaged 285 pounds !! That is a recipe for disaster and a big reason why Benson could have steered his boat through those gapping holes.

Ogunleye 260 pds, Brown 260 pds, Anderson 255 pds, G. Adams 258 pds, Idonije 270 pds, Gilbert 285 pds, Harris 295 pds, Harrison 312 pds, A. Admas 312 pds..... If they can't speed rush they are enveloped by bigger O-lineman.

No wonder we have to blitz so much to generate any sort of meaningful pressure !!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on October 26, 2009 5:45 AM.

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