Chicago Sun-Times

Tommie Harris vows to make up for lost time, but how?

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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."

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22 Comments

He'll make up for it all right.......all the way to the bank!!! What a disgrace. Overpaid, out-of-shape, and out-of-talent!!!...Show us how good you use to be, Tommie!!!!

#91,

I love the trenches. You have been my favorite player on my Bears team for the past couple of years (and I attend Boise State!); however, after watching the game yesterday I am switching to someone that comes to work every day: Anthony Adams.

Are you off your rocker, "continue to keep representing this organization" . . . ??!! Sure, the Bears like having players that don't perform and succer-punch opposing linemen after the play is over. How's your hand Mr. T.H? I pitty the fool that is dumb enough to punch someone with a FACEMASK.

Marinelli: How soon can you have Gilbert ready?

Harris is a shell of himself, so I guess in some sick sorta way it'll be fun watching him try

At least he'll be well-rested for a winnable football game against the 49ers this week? Very small silver linings, I guess.

Well he said his peace. We might as well not vent on him anymore.

If he plays the rest of the season to probowl or near probowl caliber then we can forget about all of this crap.

If he sucks the rest of the season like he has the last 2 seasons then lets just release him.

Defense questions:

On a different note-aside from lacking the 360 lb run stuffing nose tackle that will necessitate a double team every down do we have the personnel to run a 3-4 defense?

Alex Brown could be one DE as he stops the run quite well and is what I consider an average pass rusher.

Adewale Ogunleye should probably not be resigned.

Then 4 LBs: Urlacher, Briggs, Tinoisamoa (assuming he is resigned), and ?Gaines Adams.

I would have to say this would be a big stretch though- none of the former 3 linebackers are accomplished pass rushers (especially Urlacher who when he blitzes he stays too upright in the gaps and is easily blocked even by RB's). Please correct me if I am wrong but isn't Gaines Adams at 6'5" is too tall to be a linebacker and too slight to be a DE in a 3-4 system?

So although this upcoming year would be an opportune time to switch to a 3-4 (opportune because I think our defense has basically hit rock bottom) - I don't think we have anywhere near the personnel to accomplish it.

Haven't you guys ever lost your tempers and done things you regret in the heat of a tough physical contest? I certainly have and can somewhat sympatize with Harris. Was his behavior stupid? Of course it was, but he acknowledges that and apologizes. More critical was the way the whole defense played. No pass rush, lousy tackling, poor coverage and pathetic play in general. Lance Briggs hits it right on the head with his comments.

PM --

You must be a faithful Cubs fan, too.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Punching a player, no matter how mad or frustrated you get, is about the stupidest thing to do on a football field. As Idonije pointed out, there are so many ways to retaliate on the field of play. Hand under the facemask is a great one. Forearm to the throat works well. A leg whip. Falling on the back of their legs as they block someone else. All good.

The Bears were aware of Lutui's rep as someone who occasionally goes "below the belt" to entice opponents into doing something stupid. Tommie took the bait.

Reminded me of the movie "Slapshot" when they are trying to bait Hanrahan into getting ejected.

Funny how life imitates art.

I hope he plays extremely well the next 8 games - and then we trade him for someone younger, and more reliable.

But we'll keep him as long as Lovie's here b/c he wants to run the Tampa - 2 and he needs a stud DT 3 Technique and an irratic and unreliable T.Harris is (or is he) better than anything else we got.

Not being there at all (inactive, suspended, injured) is better than getting thrown out b/c we could have have someone else 'active' (and I use that term loosely) for the game.

Here's a question - would there Bears media be giving this guy such a pass if he wasn't good for print and media raw material. Because he's seriuosly been the source of disappointment the last couple of years.
I'd draw a comparison to another player who failed to 'show-up' but the readers here would call me ridiculous...


Here, Here, Seedy:
Harris looks like a lost puppy right now, this act coming from a upstanding believer, you would have thought Lutui spit in his face or something for that kind of reaction. You can never hit a player in the head in the NFL and expect to hurt them without blunt force contact to the head with another hard object, much like the "hit" Clinton Portis took yesterday in the game that copmpletely knocked him out......
Mike S. We do not have the personnel to run a 3-4 defense, nor do really want to do that with the personnel we have. Green Bay is trying it this year and faring not much better than we are this year on defense, at least we have an excuse of playing 2 reserve LB's and a young secondary outside of Tillman. No, we can still play the 4-3 with a few changes in the scheme, more physical corners who can jam at the line then run in coverage, a big pass rushing end who can also play the run well, and a young LB or SSafety who can punish players over the middle with speed and playmaking ability to blitz the QB from time to time or get INT's in space. We need an attitude adjustment; a fighter on the staff to breathe some fire into the players and get teams to start and fear coming into Chicago again, the Cards were yucking it up during the game. I don't condone what Harris did, but somebody else needed to step up and make a BEARS statement, you may be kicking our butt on the scoreboard, but take this with you....if you know what I mean......No passion, no fire, no intensity is how our defense is currently playing, and we get to see the "passion" of "Samarai Mike" this Thursday, go figure......

The problem with this whole scenario is that if Tommie Harris had the physical talent of Anthony Adams, he would be long gone now as a Bears player based on his wacky ways that he has displayed for a few years now. If Tommie Harris had the heart of Anthony Adams, Tommie would be an all pro player.

Certainly someone who recognizes they have made a mistake and corrects it moving forward is someone I can support, unfortunately Tommie has made more than a few mistakes at what point is it just time to give up on this guy?

Since, Tommie has promised to the Bears fans that he will prove though his play and be the leader and star that he should be, I for one am willing to give him one last opportunity. In my opinion one more detrimental issue of any type is cause for releasing him from the team.

Tommie, be the leader of the defense, this team needs someone to step up besides Alex Brown and Lance Briggs.

Same dude who said last year he was Born Again and then had a child out of wedlock. He doesnt need a Coach he needs a Father.

Dude probably wont be able to walk yet alone even hobble in the coming years from that bum knee, if the potential brain injuries from head collisions in football dont get him first---do put that 40 some million total available to you in good non Madoff like hands Tommie, as you will need to live the high life you've come to know for the rest of your years....or do you need a Daddy to tell you how to do that too?

Despicable human being. Send him packing no matter the cost. Bears got taken with this one and the chump knows it. Persona non Grata in this State that is for sure. The experiment is over and he cost Lovie and Angelo their livelihoods too. Hat Trick Virgina McCaskey, get rid of all three, no matter the current cost, it will pay huge dividends in the future.

Jerry--cant pick em
Lovey--cant coach em
Tommie---cant play

How many coches would put up with Harris? Suspended twice in two years, punching another player, not practicing, not showing up to play on game day. How many coaches would put up with that? If he is done he is done cut him and get it over with. If it is just in his head bench him until he decides to be a man and come to work.

Would Cohwer, deal with this? Shannahan? Singletary? Coughlin? Tomlin? Belichick? Even McNugget wouldn't put up this?

I have been a Bears fan since 1965 and I do not recall an era where there were more players that simply *do not deserve the privilege of wearing the uniform of the Chicago Bears* than right now.

Tommie Harris is the most obvious current example.

MikeS I agree we are one draft or F/A awayfrom running a 3-4 I believe both Adams and Anderson should be on the field in a 3-4 their size, speed and athleticism would make them perfect outside playing in space both would be more effective playing to their strengths. Put Urlacher and Briggs inside. Gilbert and Izzy would make fine DE's. Tampa2 has become a facet of defenses not a base.

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.

Brad, I believe you are being overzealous and this could be due to being a Chicago Bears fan as well as a sportswriter.

By Paul Manter on November 9, 2009 4:33 PM

Haven't you guys ever lost your tempers and done things you regret in the heat of a tough physical contest?

As Paul clearly states, haven't you guys lost your tempers? And it does not necessarily have to be in a tough physical contest. Please don't go with Tommie is a professional. I get that! But in everyday life some jerk tries to pull your chain and some days you simply are not having it!

Unfortunately for Tommie and Bears fans, this past Sunday was his day. Get over it, he apologize quickly, and wants to move on. I stated in another blog entry, he looked more disappointed than angry that he allowed someone to jerk his chain and responded quickly.

IT HAPPENS PEOPLE!!

Anon, Paul Manter and others:
Tommie was kicked out on the FOURTH PLAY of the game. So he lost his temper after THREE WHOLE plays?? That's excusable? Give me a break.

chitown you are talking about a entire draft to run a defense, I am talking about getting your most athletic players in the mix because "YOU DON"T HAVE ANY DRAFT THE FIRST DAY" So all those positions you are talking about where are you going to find all those players? now remember this is Angelo drafting. The players on the roster now could fit into this 3-4 and we ain't GreenBay and excuses are like armpits everybody has one. The Bears in their ultimate wisdom drafted and acquired players who would be more successful standing up not with their hands on the turf, Gilbert would make a better 3-4 DE than a undersized tackle, hybrids and space-eaters are more prevelant than Warren Sapp types. Marvin Harrison could probably carry 320+ lbs and you could probably find a blue collar 320+ lb player in the 4th, 5th or 6th round of the draft. Think about it don't be like Lovie hard-headed the top teams in the NFL more run a 3-4 than a 4-3.

Look dawg, you are talking about a complete over haul of the team not me. When you look at the team you see 4 players to play tackle in a 4-3, Harrison, Gilbert, Adams and Idonje, this does not include Harris. At end you have Brown-signed and competent, you have Adams-via trade who is No LB, while Anderson and Ogunleye are Free ageants, no way would I re-sign Anderson with the plan to make him a stand-up 3-4 LB, let someone else make this dumb move.

You are in a panic mode with this suggestion, and as I said earlier Green Bay has tried this with their personnel and it is not working there either, to go to a 3-4 means a complete blow-up of the team. We are playing young players currenlty in place of injured Brian at LB, and the secondary other than Tillman has been playing 3 years or less. The issue is not the 3-4 but the production of the players. That is why the "heat" is on Lovie, he has faith in guys who have not produced, look at the guy Carter last night the same guy who blew-up Olsen in the Pittsburgh game he gets on the field and what pick-6. Look we have a lot of problems with this team right now, so do the Giants who also play a 4-3, when you put young players in the game and they do not produce you look bad simple as that and that what is happening here in Chicago right now NO Playmakers on Defense....this will not change by putting these same players in a 3-4 scheme, as for an entire draft, no it might take two drafts to get the pieces we need. You call Gilbert undersized at 290 lbs, are you kidding me, Harrison already carries the 320 lbs you talk about now........They just gotta make plays, this is not happening we all see it and as "Big Paw" Brown says, its on us (players) that is..........

Bill,
Right on the money there....and it wasn't even 4 plays! He only got blocked by Lutui on 2 of them, and apparently was neutralized on both of them. I guess Deuce derailed his "I'm gonna show you" comeback that he had been promising, and made him look like the half-speed pretender that he is.

Olin and Pat Williams were more often than not involved in similar jawing, extra-curricular shoving, and extra physicality, and I do not recall either of them getting kicked out of a game over the last 4-5 years. Olin gets a few unsportsmanlike conduct calls against him, but he never throws a punch, except for at his own teammates (Fred Miller's broken jaw)...The fact of the matter is that Tommie is childish, not childlike, and he will never be great again. He has all sorts of passion about life, but none of it has to do with football. He needs to sit on the bench for the rest of the year. Inactive list should be the only place he shows up on game day. Let Gilbert, Toeaina, Adams, Harrison, and Idonije play. At least they will show up.

deputy,
Marvin Harrison? I think that would slow down his route running at 320 lbs...just kidding. I agree that Harrison and Toeaina would be a decent rotation at nose tackle, and Idonije and Gilbert would be your 3-4 DEs. You would not have a home for Alex Brown, Anderson, and Ogunleye in the 3-4 though. Melton would have to be one of your rush LBs on the outside, and Briggs and Urlacher would be your inside LBs. Maybe we could get something for Brown, and maybe a Happy Meal for Tommie Harris, but outside of that, we don't have many bargaining chips to play with to improve the defense. We would need some depth at the DE position, and a few rush LBs. Roach, Hillenmeyer, and Williams would be ok as depth choices for the middle, and if need be, we could move Urlacher to the outside as a rush LB, and see how that works.

There will be some free agents that hit the market, like Shawne Merriman, but the pickings will not be great. My opinion is that we need to get to the point where we use specialists on the DL and stay in the 4-3. On first down, you put some bulk inside (Harrison and Toeaina), and Brown and Gilbert/Idonije on the outside. We should be able to stop the run, which is really what is killing us right now. We never stopped the pass all that well, but at least teams had to throw against us. Now they can run on us all day long, which makes it impossible to stop the pass, as we have to commit extra bodies to the box.

Once you make it difficult to run against us, we can force the offense into situations where we don't have to read, we can just react and get after the QB.

It's not rocket science. The Tampa 2 defense is designed to prevent big plays, keep everything in front of you, and close on the ball and limit YAC. Right now we are failing at all 3 tenets of the defense. If we come out this flat against the Niners, Frank Gore will kill us, and we will make Alex Smith look like he is all world.

Deputydawg, I think we both stand corrected on this issue. First a check of Team defense stats on NFL.com show the Packers currently ranked 4th in total team defense, 1 point for you. Second, exactly 50% of the top 10 Team defenses run a 4-3 , the other half a 3-4, so it is not necessarily the scheme its the players playing in the scheme that makes a defense, 1 point for me. NY giants, Wash, Philly, Carolina & Indy....Bears are currently ranked 15th....a surprise after the last few games.

As I've said before the problem is the players, they are not getting it done, none of the young players on the field for the BEARS have distinguished themselves as players that can change a game, it puts more pressure on those we have who can like Briggs and alex Brown to make things happen. I am plently suprised by Mannings play at Free the last few games and hope it keeps up, but the youth movement this team has gone to has failed the last few games, that is why we are what we are a .500 footbal team.

Lets see what Harris brings for the rest of the year. If he is a shell of what he once was, and particularly if he plays well at least the Bears could get something for him. A third round pick maybe but something.

Next year is going to be all about free agents because the Bears do not have many picks to bring in developmental talent and they better hit on the picks they do have, unfortunately if you graded Angelo on his draft talent probably at best he earns a c or d grade, too many F's to rank him any higher.

I hope Harris is a superstar for the last 8 games, I would still be OK about getting something for him and Harris with another team.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on November 9, 2009 2:18 PM.

Tillman announces he will be ready to face the 49ers was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears-49ers injury report, Nov. 9 is the next entry in this blog.

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