It seemed like a knee jerk reaction, when safety Chris Harris asked the Bears to allow him to seek a trade, a day after he was deactivated.
But context is important in understanding where he is coming from.
A sixth-round pick in 2005, Harris was traded to the Carolina Panthers for a fifth-round pick in August 2007. He started 15 games for the Panthers, finished with 101 tackles and he led the league with eight forced fumbles.
During the 2010 offseason, the Panthers were considering a trade of Harris, then the Bears entered the picture. They wanted him back… except at a discount.
“I knew the scheme, and the players, and coaches, and I felt I had a good chance of winning,” Harris told the Sun-Times Monday. You can call it loyal, or dumb or nave. But I did it.”
Instead of making a little more than $2 million in 2010, Harris accepted a pay cut from the Bears to $800,000. Then, in 2011, instead of $2.4 million, Harris would make about $1.5 million.
So, in all, Harris lost $2.1 million to re-join the Bears.
After he struggled against the Detroit Lions, Harris was surprised to be inactive for Sunday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
“Yeah, I felt disrespected by being inactive,” Harris said.
“It’s a business move, just like they made a business move,” Harris said later. “It’s nothing personal. I feel they have shown that they are moving in a different direction, and I’m apparently not a part of the future plans.”
The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday afternoon, and the Bears have given Harris’ agent Albert Elias a chance to explore options elsewhere.
“I’m pretty sure the percentage of a trade going down are not very high, considering the amount of time we have,” Harris said. “But crazier things have happened.”
If a trade doesn’t come to fruition, Harris insisted he won’t be a distraction in any way.
“I’m going to be right there doing my job and being a good teammate and being a professional,” Harris said. “I have a strong bond with a lot of guys on the team. So I want to see them succeed and do well.”