Embattled defensive tackle Tommie Harris vowed to make it up to his teammates after being ejected from Sunday's game on the fourth play from scrimmage for punching Arizona Cardinals right guard Deuce Lutui in the head.
"I was embarrassed, especially for my actions. I apologized to him yesterday, called Larry [Fitzgerald] and had a chance to apologize to him,'' Harris said at his locker this afternoon. "I just wanted to apologize to my fans first off, and the little kids out there that saw that action. I shouldn't have behaved in that manner, and I apologized to my teammates, and I'll make up for it."
Harris' career has been filled with immature acts but being bounced from a critical game at the very beginning has to be near the top of the list. In the last 20 regular-season games, Harris has been suspended for one game for conduct detrimental to the team, benched for another and now he's been run off for a punch that will surely cost him in the wallet.
Harris accused Lutui of doing "some unnecessary stuff during the game'' but refused to say specifically what set him off. Lutui blocked Harris into the ground on the play before he was ejected. Simply put, he couldn't have done that much to Harris.
"In the six years I've been here I've never done anything like that, and he kind of pushed me to my limits and I apologize for all that,'' Harris said.
Coach Lovie Smith said that the team will wait to see what kind of discipline the NFL hands down. It is expected that Harris will be fined for his actions.
"I fell like I hurt my team,'' Harris said. "I was very embarrassed, and hopefully I'll make up for it the next time I get out there.''
Here's the question, though, how does Harris make up for missing a football game? That's time lost. It's not coming back. Harris has missed one-quarter of the season so far because of his actions. He was benched for one week because he wasn't meeting the standards put forth by Smith, then he was kicked out of a game. There's nothing he can do to make up for that. Period.
"I'm gonna make up for it,'' Harris said. "Continue to keep playing better and get this team to be a winning team like we've been in the past."
The question came up, too, whether or not Harris understands the sentiment that his time is running out with the Bears.
"Not from my viewpoint,'' he said. "I continue to just be Tommie Harris, 91 for the Chicago Bears and continue to keep representing this organization. I know I didn't do a good job last week, and I apologize for that, but I continue to carry it out in a positive manner."