Shelby Harris grateful to be back with Broncos for 2020 season

Defensive end Shelby Harris #96 of the Denver Broncos walks off the field celebrating after the Denver Broncos 24-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on November 25, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 25: Defensive end Shelby Harris #96 of the Denver Broncos walks off the field celebrating after the Denver Broncos 24-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on November 25, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The world has been rattled to its core during the last few months with the shocking developments of the COVID-19 virus. No major sports are being played at the moment, and it looks like that will continue well into the summertime.

That said, the NFL is still alive and well with the free agency period dominating sports headlines the last two weeks.

The Denver Broncos made a slew of moves in free agency, most recently re-signing pass rusher Shelby Harris to a one-year deal. Harris was expected to sign a lucrative multi-year contract elsewhere, but his market crumbled in the early stages of free agency, so he opted to return to Denver.

And while many were perplexed as to why Harris did not have a large market for his services, he is simply grateful to have a job given the times.

“At the end of the day, I’m just happy to have a job,” Harris said. “There are millions of Americans who have lost their jobs because of this. I’d rather just focus on the fact that I have a job than—if you want to talk about numbers at the end of the day we should just be happy, we should just be blessed to be able to be employed and to have a job. It’s bigger than that right now. I think the important thing is that I do have a job. I’m able to provide for my family, but there are a lot of people who can’t.”

Harris registered six sacks and 49 tackles last season in Denver, his best season as a pro. Harris thrived under coach Vic Fangio and decided to re-sign with the Broncos, given his fit in the defensive scheme.

“It was about the fit,” Harris said. “I had always said I wanted to come back to Denver. When that opportunity came up, I decided to just jump on it. I feel like I can be a part of something special. I feel like this team has a chance to do something good. I feel like I could definitely help the team out. I wanted to try to play my part and come back and try to lead this team to greener pastures.”

Since the Broncos expected to lose Harris in free agency, they traded for veteran tackle Jurrell Casey. Casey will absorb a majority of the playing time, so the Broncos will need to get creative with how they utilize Harris on the defensive line.

Harris does not know much about the veteran but is excited to learn from him.

“I don’t really know much about Jurrell,” Harris said. “From what I do know, I know that he’s a hell of a player. I can’t wait to play with him. Hopefully, he can teach me some new things because I’m always open to learning from guys who obviously have been around the league a little bit longer than me. For me, I’m just excited.”

Coach Fangio reached out to Harris to express his desire to bring him back, and also carve out a role for him in the defense alongside Casey. Fangio’s schemes place a premium on pressuring the opposing quarterback, so Harris will undoubtedly find a home within Fangio’s system.

“I feel like it kind of fits my strong suits,” Harris said of playing in Fangio’s defense. “I just think the defense as a whole is a good defense, and it just puts everyone in a position to make plays.”

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