Q&A: Former OU safety Nic Harris on NFL future, college defenses and ‘thumb thugs’
NORMAN — Nic Harris played safety, nickelback and some linebacker at Oklahoma from 2005 through 2008. He was voted to the coaches’ All-Big 12 first-team as both a junior and senior.
The Buffalo Bills selected Harris in the 2009 NFL Draft, and he appeared in 30 NFL games — and started six — over two seasons with the Bills and Carolina Panthers.
Harris didn’t play at all during in 2011 or 2012 as he’s worked through knee issues, but says he’s now 100 percent and wants back in the league. He’s had tryouts with the New England Patriots and New York Jets within the past month.
Harris spoke with The Oklahoman by telephone this week to talk about his football future, the current state of college football defenses and Internet critics, who he called “thumb thugs.”
(Side note: Harris’ difficult childhood — and his remarkable emergence from it — was chronicled in this great story from September 2007 by my pal Scott Wright.)
What have you been up to over the past couple years?
“I worked out with the Patriots; I worked out with the Jets recently. Unfortunately, I’ve had to take the past two years off. I’ve had to have two pretty extensive knee surgeries, but I’m back 100 percent healthy. Getting ready for a regional combine in Los Angeles on Feb. 9. I’ve been traveling. Doing some modeling … Investing my time in other things. Pretty much just staying busy. Becoming a socialite, I guess (laughs).”
How tough has it been for you to be away from football?
“It’s frustrating. My first priority is to play football. I think that I’m one hell of a football player.”
Even in the few years you’ve been out of college football, the game has changed pretty drastically — particularly in the Big 12 with these offenses. What do you make of all the points being scored?
“I’m a defensive player, so I’m gonna be biased. You can’t touch offensive guys; they’ve got all these penalties for defensive guys. At the end of the day, look, (all college football players) knew what we were signing up for when we signed on the dotted line. You’d never go out and try to intentionally hurt somebody, but … I think it’s an extreme disadvantage.
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