It’s been a long road for Houston Texans cornerback Charles Harris.
His first-round draft pick from Clemson in 2014 was the second-deadliest player on the team, but he made the NFL’s All-Pro team in 2016.
And this past year, Harris was one of only two players to start all 16 games.
So the 32-year-old Harris was getting calls for his game from NFL scouts, and some were ready to take him in the first round.
“It’s been like a rite of passage,” Harris said.
“You can’t stop yourself from dreaming about it.”
The dream started with a trip to Mexico, where he met a woman from his hometown who asked him to marry her in a small Mexican town, he said.
She gave him a ride to the airport, and he got there in time to have a wedding ceremony in Mexico City.
He spent a year in Mexico, which made him feel like he was home, Harris said, even though he had not been in the country since 2010.
He took a class in the U.S. and made a trip back to Houston to visit his family.
The dream was over, and Harris was finally home.
He played in 11 games and started five of them, with two starts in the playoffs.
His stats in 2016: five interceptions, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, two pass breakups, one interception return and a touchdown.
But he also missed six games with a broken wrist and an injured foot, leaving the Texans with just six interceptions.
He also missed four games with an ankle injury, and had surgery for a torn tendon in his left knee.
“There was a time I wasn’t 100 percent,” Harris told USA TODAY Sports.
Harris had the best season of his career, but the Texans also lost the Super Bowl to the Seattle Seahawks in February, a blow that hurt his draft stock. “
It took him nearly two years to get back on the field, and now he’s hoping to play his final NFL game this Sunday in the wild-card game against the Carolina Panthers.
Harris had the best season of his career, but the Texans also lost the Super Bowl to the Seattle Seahawks in February, a blow that hurt his draft stock.
He was released in May and then was cut by the Texans in October.
“But it’s hard to do. “
They’re trying to make me take a year to get there,” Harris explained.
“But it’s hard to do.
I don’t know what I want to do.”
He is still trying to get over his knee injury, which he said he had in college, and has had some help from his family, including a girlfriend he met in Mexico.
“My mom said, ‘You know, if you’re having fun with this, you can be a football player,’ ” Harris said of his mother.
“That’s what she always said.
He has spent time with his mom and a friend, who has also had surgery. “
And so he is.
He has spent time with his mom and a friend, who has also had surgery.
“She’s just a real strong person. “
Just a lot of love, a lot more love than I would have had, if I had been able to go back there,” he said, laughing.
“She’s just a real strong person.
She’s got a real nice family.”
He said his best friend has been helping him to cope.
“A lot of people can get up and say, ‘Charles, we love you, but you can’t do this,’ ” he said of a person who might try to help him.
“We just kind of want to be the best person we can be and not be in the same boat.
And I’m just trying to be strong enough to say, no, I can’t be like that.”
With a draft-night injury, Harris struggled in the preseason, but his season was in jeopardy because of a torn ligament in his right ankle, which would have ended his season.
He returned to the field in Week 4 and started three games before getting hurt again.
He missed three games and two of the next four, and suffered another torn ACL, then tore his ACL again during the playoffs and missed all of last season.
“Charles is a good player,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said.
And so it was when Harris was drafted that he got his chance to get his shot. “
So the more he does that, the better he will be.”
And so it was when Harris was drafted that he got his chance to get his shot.
He signed a five-year, $72 million contract with the Texans, making him the second highest-paid player in NFL history