This has been quite the week for Shelby Harris.
The Denver Broncos defensive lineman had his 29th birthday on Tuesday and he announced he’s having a son. Oh, Harris and his Broncos teammates were also finally able to get back on the field for training camp.
“I’m getting old out there,” Harris joked to Ryan Edwards and Benjamin Allbright on Friday’s Broncos Country Tonight. “We found out that we were having a boy a couple weeks ago, but my wife finally decided that she wanted to announce it. I did my part and posted something, and I was happy.”
The fact Harris is back in a Broncos uniform is still a bit of surprise. When the veteran defensive lineman was able to hit NFL free agency in March, it seemed a forgone conclusion that he would not be back ... and that he would get a big contract. Allbright had said the likely destination was the Indianapolis Colts. When that didn’t happen, and Derek Wolfe signed with the Baltimore Ravens, that led to Harris coming back on a one-year deal.
However it happened, the fact Harris is back in Denver is massive for this defense. He knows Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell. Harris knows the system. Perhaps more importantly, he knows the defensive players and the culture.
Now you add Jurrell Casey to the Broncos defensive line and that pairing with Harris could be dynamic. How Casey and Harris can play off each other is a huge advantage for Fangio and the schemes he designs. When you throw in Bradley Chubb and Von Miller on the edges, you have a recipe for consistent, harassing pressure from the front seven from the exterior and interior of Denver’s defensive line.
The other valuable piece Harris brings to the table is veteran leadership. He’s now an elder statesman in a young Broncos locker room.
“Man, I feel old,” Harris said to the guys. “I look around and everyone is in Year One, Year Two, Year Three and I’m in Year Seven. Yeah, you feel really old, but it’s little things that I feel I can help the young guys out with. How to be a pro. What they expect from you. How to get the most out of your reps. That’s stuff that the older guys told me when I was a young guy, so I’m just trying to bring that same kind of energy that I would have wanted when I was younger.”
The Broncos and Broncos Country got a bit of surprise when Harris returned on a one year-deal. But the fact he’s back will help lead Denver’s defense to an even better 2020 season. Harris certainly had a great first week back on the field.