The Broncos’ defenses in recent years have all had something in common – established veteran leadership. It began with Champ Bailey mentoring young players during his final two seasons and continued with the likes of DeMarcus Ware and others in 2014.

Entering 2018, the unit is without a leader of the pedigree of Bailey, Ware or even Aqib Talib.

Enter Chris Harris. The former undrafted free agent is preparing for his eighth NFL season, all with the Broncos. After years of proving himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the league, Harris now has another task.

“I know that I’ve got to be able to lead this group and set the standard for how we’re gonna play,” Harris said. “That’s how I come out and approach every day of practice – working hard and having those guys follow my lead.”

Through OTAs and minicamp, Harris is impressed with the play from the new-look defensive backfield, saying the younger players have made a strong impression on the field. Rather than he and Talib directing the communication on the field, Harris now shares those duties with fellow veteran Darian Stewart.

“I’ve always been a huge part of what we do on the field because I’m the one that has to do all the communication on the field,” Harris said. “Me and Stew (Darian Stewart) share it now so it’s just us two guys. (Younger players) didn’t really have to lead because we were all vets in the secondary. Now we’ve got more young guys so we’ve got to try to get them up to speed.”

For Harris, his ability to transition seamlessly into that leadership role dates all the way back to his rookie season when he played alongside Baily and other future Hall of Famers.

“Playing with (Baily), playing with (Brian) Dawkins, D-Ware, Peyton (manning), those guys are just perfectionists,” Harris said. “When you get around guys who, they put 100 percent of their life into football, and that’s what I try to do.”

To listen to the full interview with Harris, including his thoughts on the rookie wide receivers, click Sorry – this audio content is no longer available. or play the podcast below.

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