Erik Harris is coming home.
Friday morning, Harris signed a two-year deal to remain a member of the Oakland Raiders. The versatile safety didn't have the easiest journey to the NFL, but all his hard work and dedication paid off.
Harris went from working in a potato chip factory, to playing in the CFL, to a brief stint with the New Orleans Saints, then to the Baltimore Ravens, before eventually ending up in the Silver and Black. He joined the team midseason in 2017, and after making a positive impression on Head Coach Jon Gruden and his new coaching staff during Organized Team Activities [OTAs] and training camp last year, the team has decided to keep him a Raider.
"It's huge because I was up in Canada for three years, so every six months I was flying from Canada back to the U.S.," Harris told reporters on a conference call. "After I got released by the Saints I got picked up by the Ravens, just a lot of instability. My family has been staying in Louisiana when I've been back in Oakland, so just to have that stability and know my kids are set up for life… it's life changing."
Prior to signing his contract, Harris was keeping an eye on the free agency pool, aware that the 2019 class of free agent safeties is loaded with talented players.
"This is probably the best – in the last five years – this is probably the best safety free agency group there's been, and I took that into consideration," he said. "I also took into consideration the way the locker room and the organization views my character. I'll be 29, so I took that into consideration, and money isn't everything. Obviously, it's nice and this is life changing for my family, but being somewhere where people respect you for your character, your leadership, that means a lot more to me as well."
Harris has been a quality player and core special teamer during his time with the Raiders, but more importantly he's a well-respected individual in the locker room.
For obvious reasons, Harris is ecstatic about his new deal, but he's also excited to continue playing in front of Raider Nation.
"I'm thrilled to be back," Harris explained. "And I'm really excited to be staying in the Silver and Black."