Erik Harris travels a lot, but in the last few days he's traveled a little more than usual.
After flying to Miami Friday afternoon, the Oakland Raiders safety and his teammates continued to prepare for their game against the Dolphins Sunday afternoon, but there was something else in the back of his mind he needed to be ready for; the birth of his son.
Unfortunately the Silver and Black were unable to close out Sunday's game with a victory, and while the team was gearing up for its returning flight to Oakland, Harris was about to embark on his own journey. The Los Angeles native wouldn't fly back to the Bay Area with his teammates; instead, he headed home to meet his wife, Theresa, just before she went into labor.
"I just caught the bus with the team over to the airport, and then I had a separate shuttle that took me to my terminal," He explained. "Caught a flight, and connected in Houston, so I went past New Orleans to Houston, and then had to come back [to New Orleans], so I probably got back around midnight."
Harris' late, and chaotic travel schedule wasn't even the worst part of his jaunt.
"The craziest thing that happened when my wife finally picked me up – she was running a little late because she had to turn around and take my daughter home who was throwing a fit – so she gets [to the airport] and it's pretty busy for midnight. I hop in the car real quick – she didn't pull over to the lane where I can unload or pack everything in – so as soon as I jump in the car my phone falls out of my pocket and hits the ground. I'm like, 'I got a case on it so whatever,' but when it hits the ground I look at it, and it falls right into the rain drain," Harris said with a chuckle. "I just saw it slide right in, I was like, 'no way.' I had to go talk to the police, we had to pry it open, had to get my phone out, went home, and the next day we had the baby. All of that went well, it started off bad, but everything else went extremely well."
Following a chaotic return home, Monday, Harris and his family welcomed their fourth child – their third son – into the world, a moment that he wouldn't have missed. The miracle of life is an experience that's hard to explain unless you've been a part of it, and Harris shared that it's a feeling that never gets old.
"The first or fourth, it all feels like the first," he explained. "You can kind of explain that moment to people who are about to experienced it, or haven't experienced it, but you truly have to experience that moment to feel what I'm trying to describe."
While Harris lives in Oakland, his family resides in Louisiana, and the distance can understandably be hard at times, especially after having a baby. He was only able to spend a brief amount of time with his family, but he made every second count. In what was already a whirlwind of a travel schedule, Harris needed to return to Oakland to prepare for the team's Week 4 battle against the Cleveland Browns, but not before spending some quality time with his kids.
"It was a hard day yesterday, it was kind of a bunch of different goodbyes," he said. "We dropped the kids off at the school in the morning time. Picked up my boys early so we could go to Chuck E. Cheese so could have a little time together. Took them home to a friend that was watching them, went to the hospital to see my son, my mother-in-law, and my wife. Said goodbye from there and then took an Uber to the airport."
Now that Harris has the peace of mind that his newborn son is healthy, as is his wife, his focus will now shift to helping the Raiders deliver its first win of 2018.