Charles Harris has his marching orders: Go get the quarterback. And that message was personally delivered by Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp when she signed the former first-round pick to a one-year deal this week.
“I think Sheila made it very frank in my meeting with her,” Harris said during a call with reporters on Monday. “I think that’s the main role. I think that’s something that wins games, getting the quarterback off the spot. I think that’s something I’m looking to capitalize on and looking to do to get done. I think that’s the main job that I’m hearing, in terms of my role, my definitive role is affecting the quarterback each and every single play.”
Ford Hamp taking the time to meet with Harris is another example of her efforts to be a more hands-on owner. A former first-round pick who has fallen well short of lofty expectations, Harris signed a modest one-year, $1.75 million contract with the team.
Still, Ford Hamp made sure to spend a few minutes with him the day he signed, a conversation that resonated with Harris.
“It’s laugh and giggles, like, ha ha, just go get the quarterback, ha ha,” Harris said. “But there’s a seriousness to it. You know what I mean? Because it’s true. It’s really, that’s my only job. That’s all you have to do. That’s all you have to do for us, or that’s all you have to do for me, in her words. You know? With that, comes a sense of responsibility that’s deeper than just, ‘I understand.’ It’s more so, I’ll get it done for you.
“It almost personalizes it, if that makes sense, because she personally said that,” Harris said. “When someone asks for something, and they ask for you to do it, they bring you on board, they bring you on to their team, to their home, to their city, their franchise, whatever you want to call it, and they make a request of you, it’s up to you, as an individual, to get it done. I think that’s the thing that brings, brought and is going to bring more of a sense of seriousness and (a personal touch) behind it.”
Harris spent his first three seasons with the Miami Dolphins before he was traded to the Atlanta Falcons last year. He played the fewest defensive snaps of his career in 2020, but was more effective on a per snap basis.
He views himself as a versatile defender, able to play standing up or with his hand in the dirt, capable of rushing the passer or dropping into coverage. He expects to do a little bit of everything in Detroit.
After racking up more than 30 tackles for loss his final two seasons as the University of Missouri, Harris has just 13 in four NFL campaigns. In 54 games (nine starts), he’s tallied 79 tackles and 6.5 sacks. He had a career-high 3.0 sacks last season.