The news this afternoon that former Green Bay Packer Al Harris has formerly asked the Packers franchise that he wishes to retire with the team isn’t surprising, considering what he gave the team over the years and how fans feel about his time with the team.
Here’s how Packers.com made the announcement this afternoon:
The Packers’ aggressive and tough-as-nails cornerback, who is best known for his pick-six against the Seattle Seahawks in the famous January 2004 “we want the ball and we’re going to score” playoff game, helped lead a defensive backfield through the mid-2000s that had many highs and lows – but mostly games where the Packers disrupted the flow of opposing defenses.
What can one say about Harris – there are many good things one can point to, but personally I have to remember his last game as a Packer in 2009 against the San Francisco 49ers. I was there within feet and taking pictures from the sidelines. I made a point to focus in on Harris in that game for one reason – he was matched up for most of it with a rookie who had just joined the Niners after a holdout – a kid by the name of Michael Crabtree.
What I found amazing was Harris’s intent to welcome the rookie to the NFL – indeed he did. Harris showed no mercy at the line of scrimmage with a barrage of beatings that left Crabtree frustrated and off his game. That was Harris’s mode of operation and he was one of the best at it.
Sure, he got schooled a few times during his career – who can forget the playoff game against the Giants in 2007 when Plaxico Burress ran by, around, and through him? But by and far he had many more days that he won the battle than those where he lost.
According to Packers.com:
Harris set the Packers’ single-season record for passes defensed (tracked since 1982) with 28 in 2004, and posted 14 interceptions and 108 passes defensed during his time in Green Bay. He missed the first four games of his career in 2008 (lacerated spleen) after playing in 175 consecutive contests (163 in the regular season, 12 in the postseason). Harris also played five seasons with Philadelphia (1998-2002), one with Miami (2010) and one with St. Louis (2011).
In 7 years with the Packers, Harris started 102 games, had four sacks, 14 interceptions, which he returned for 233 yards and two touchdowns. He had 87 passes defensed and two forced fumbles. He also had 269 tackles and 31 assists.
He was the consummate Packer – understood the Packers Way and lived it. That’s why he’s coming back to retire as a Packer. He knows what it means to him as a person and what it means to us as fans.
Thanks again, Al. Welcome back. You will always be with us.
Here’s his all-time statistics:
Here’s the play we all remember: