Saints WR Deonte Harris provides instant spark in passing game

Saints WR Deonte Harris provides instant spark in passing game
Saints wide receiver Deonte Harris records seven catches for 83 yards against the Bears. | Derick E. Hingle/New Orleans Saints Pool Photo (Source: Derick E. Hingle)


Sean Payton said as far back as training camp that Deonte Harris was one of the fastest learners on the team. And sure enough, his development as not just a return specialist, but also as a versatile wide receiver, is proving valuable for the Saints.

“He’s a great weapon,” says quarterback Drew Brees. “He can do a lot of things. He’s got a really great feel for the game and a lot of our route concepts. We were trying to put him in good positions with good match-ups in space, get the ball in his hands, and let him do what he does best.”

And the seven catches Harris made against the Bears, his career-high for a single game, were pivotal plays. Five of them went for first downs. Four of them came on third downs went the Saints had to convert.

“You’ve got a big game, you need a big performance,” says Harris. “That’s always been my motto since I was young. They say big-time players make big-time plays. I’m just trying to make plays for the team.”

Of course, a performance like this doesn’t just happen overnight. As one of the smaller players in pro football, not to mention entering the league undrafted from a Division II school, Harris says he’s always had to go the extra mile just to get recognized.

“Me being my size, I’m at a disadvantage already,” says Harris. “So I felt like I had to work twice as hard. That’s just what my people instilled in me at a young age, and I’ve carried that with me for life. I just try to be a positive role model for guys that took that same route that I took.”

And in the process, Harris has also become a model of hard work for his teammates.

“He just wants to go,” says running Alvin Kamara. “He’s like, ‘I’m about to make a play whenever I touch the ball. It is what it is. I don’t care of I’m big or small or whoever’s on the other side. It is what it is. I’m going to make a play if the ball’s in my hands.’ He’s just got a lot of will and a lot of heart, and it’s backed by hard work.”

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