Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp might want to log in to her LinkedIn profile and add a new skill: defensive line coach.
She would certainly get an endorsement from new defensive end Charles Harris.
The former first-round pick said he met Hamp at the team facility while signing his free-agent deal, and she gave him a little coaching advice.
“I think Sheila made it very frank in my meeting with her: Go get the quarterback,” Harris told reporters Monday.
Harris admitted it was a light-hearted moment with his new boss to pursue the obvious. Yet her request also carried more importance because it was made personally.
“But there’s a seriousness to it because it’s true,” he said. “It’s really, yo, that’s my only job. That’s all you have to do, that’s all you have to do for us, that’s all you have to do for me, in her words.
“I think with that comes a sense of responsibly that’s deeper than just, ‘I understand.’ It’s more so, ‘I’ll get it done for you.’ ”
Hamp has certainly been a ubiquitous presence around the team this offseason, greeting players and coaches, and sitting in on personnel and free agency meetings.
And that sounds a lot like the skillset Harris has. He’s comfortable anywhere and everywhere in the defense, whether he’s an on-the-ball defense end or an off-the-ball outside linebacker.
“I’ve had my hand up, I’ve had my hand down,” he said. “I could drop into coverage, I can go rush the play, I can stop the run, there’s a lot of things I can possibly do within a defense.”
Harris, 26, never lived up to his draft position with the Atlanta Falcons, who picked him 22nd overall in 2017 — one spot after the Lions took Jarrad Davis. The Falcons traded him to the Miami Dolphins for a seventh-round pick after three seasons and 3.5 sacks. Last season with Atlanta, he had three sacks. He has 28 quarterback hits in four seasons.
When Harris met with Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, he appreciated his direct approach and that he was a former NFL player who understands the ups and downs of the business.
“I think we all have backgrounds of being the outcast, the underdog,” he said, “all of us for the most part and having to break through that glass ceiling.”
Harris gets another chance to break through with the Lions. He knows he just has to listen to the simple request coach Hamp made.
“I think that’s something that wins games, getting the quarterback off the spot,” he said. “And I think that’s something that I’m looking to capitalize on, looking to do, will get done.
“And I think that’s the main job I’m here in terms of my role, definitive role, is affecting the quarterback each and every single play, whether that’s me actually on a pass rush play or if that’s me (being) in disguise and me dropping in coverage. Whatever I can (do to) possibly affect the quarterback is the biggest role.”
Contact Carlos Monarrez at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.