In a perfect world, Charles Harris may have been in Philadelphia for the NFL draft when the Dolphins made him their first-round pick. He may have exchanged green-room hugs with his mom and dad, then held up a jersey with Commissioner Roger Goodell, and everything would have looked, well, perfect.
But Harris doesn’t live in a perfect world. He stayed back home in Raytown, Mo., to be with his family — especially his mother, Deborah Clark, because he knew it was impossible for her to go to Philadelphia.
Clark, 48, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1997. Most of the time, she’s homebound and uses a wheelchair.
She very much wants to come to Miami this fall to see her son breaking in with the Dolphins, but, she told The Post on Friday, there’s no guarantee.
“I’ll make it if I can,” she said. “If I can’t, I’ll see it on TV. I’d rather go to the game and sit down for a minute.”
Her son overcame obstacles to become a first-round draft pick, not taking up football until his junior year of high school and catching the eye of NFL scouts even though he was virtually ignored by major-college recruiters. He accepted an offer from Missouri, the only big school to want him.
But Clark knows of obstacles of a different sort, working despite MS for a dozen years, handling microfilm and microfiche services before getting laid off in 2009.
“Everybody was like, ‘Deborah, stop working,’ ” she said.
She didn’t want to stop.
“I kept on going,” she said.
Maybe some of that drive rubbed off in the genes.
“His attitude,” Clark said when asked why her son made it this far. “He’s going to do what he’s going to do.”
On Saturdays, and now Sundays, what Harris wants to do is twist quarterbacks into unnatural positions. That’s a direct contrast to his off-the-field self.
Clark said her son, inspired by her condition, took classes in physical therapy.
“He was going to help me out,” she said.
Thursday night, Clark, Harris and the rest of the family gathered at Harris’ father’s home in Raytown, Mo., to watch the draft. Clark said she had no idea which team would take him.
“We were all happy,” she said. “We had a lot of people over and we all gave hugs.”
Father and son. Mother and son. No trip to the City of Brotherly Love necessary.
“Instead of going to Philadelphia, he wanted to be home with me, so I could see it, too,” she said. “Because I don’t get out too much.”