FOXBORO, Mass. — Linebacker David Harris was unemployed for just 15 short days before he found his natural fit with the New England Patriots.
Harris played 10 seasons with the New York Jets before being released June 6. He signed a two-year contract with the Patriots on June 21.
“There was a couple inquiries but once the Pats came, I already knew what time it was,” Harris said Thursday after his first practice with New England.
So, why the Patriots — other than all of the Super Bowls, winning, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady?
“Just everything — the winning culture, the high standard,” Harris said. “This is the place to be if you want to win.”
A desire to win is natural after 10 years with the Jets, though Harris had nothing negative to say about his former team.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick explained Thursday why it should be easier for Harris to acclimate to New England than it would be for the linebacker to catch on with a team outside of the AFC East. The Jets and Patriots share the same schedule, outside of two games per year, so it’s easy to relate.
Still, Harris has an uphill climb to learn the Patriots’ defensive playbook after missing organized team activities and minicamp.
“One thing about David, though, he has a lot of experience,” Belichick said. “He’s … played a lot of football and been in a lot of different systems. We gave him a lot of information when we signed him that he’s studied over the last three, four weeks. We were able to catch up on some of that in the last couple days and so, I mean, we’ll see. We’ll see how quickly it comes to him or how quickly he’s able to be comfortable with what we’re doing.
“I think we’ll be alright there, but there’s definitely some work. But he’s put in a lot of work. Coach (Brian) Flores has, as well, and we’re just trying to get him as up to speed as we can at this point.”
Harris said he’s been leaning on his coaches, fellow linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive tackle Alan Branch, with whom he played college ball at Michigan from 2004 to 2006.
Harris is wearing No. 45 with the Patriots, a throwback to his high school and college days.
Thumbnail photo via Thumbnail photo via Doug Kyed/NESN