Miami Dolphins rookie defensive end Charles Harris notes every sack counts the same and every quarterback goes down the same way, but he hears the fans that want him to take down a certain New Englander.
“Shout out to all the Miami Dolphins fans,” Harris, Miami’s first-round draft choice, said at his introductory news conference Friday. “They’ve been telling me over and over, ‘You’ve got to hit (Tom) Brady.'”
Harris will wear number 90 for Miami, after donning 91 at Missouri.
“I got number 90,” Harris said. “I haven’t worn that. Mr. (Cameron) Wake got 91, so I’m going to take one step down, but I guess it’s only right. I’m the little brother. Number 90. Number 91.”
Harris, attending Miami’s rookie mini-camp, has yet to meet Wake. But he hopes soon.
“He texted me,” Harris said. “That was the biggest thing I’ve got. I’m pretty excited to finally meet the legend, in person. I’m going to be the little brother he can’t get away from. In every way, shape and form, I’m going to make sure I take after him. I want to be the best. I want to learn from the best.”
Harris is confident in his abilities, but says he plans to take a humble approach in his first season, as he rotates in with veteran ends Wake and Andre Branch.
“A humble mindset,” he said. “A willingness to learn. I think things are going to be a lot different, coming into a new system. So it’s an open mindset, willing to learn and willing to adjust.”
Harris said he’s willing to play any position (he may slide inside to defensive tackle in pass-rush situations).
“Whatever they want me to get better at, whether that’s stopping the run or working on my pass rush,” Harris said. “Technique. Stance. All shapes and form. Whatever they want me to improve, that’s what I’m going to do. On the field. Off the field. Things like film study that you can improve in. Strength and conditioning.”
Harris said the most eye-opening realization since he landed in South Florida was how hot, sunny and humid it is. He’d better get used to it.
And he’d better get used to questions about high expectations.
“Coming out of high school I was a zero star (recruit ),” Harris said. “So I know how it feels to be at the bottom. I feel I have the same mindset now. I feel like another player, another rookie. I’m working my way from the bottom. I can’t come in with the mindset of I’m a first rounder, I’m this or that. So I’m willing to learn, willing to adjust, willing to get better.”
Former Missouri defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski (now an assistant at Miami) says Harris’ best attribute may be how important football, and achieving success at football, is to the pass-rusher.
Why is football important to Harris?
“It’s just intrinsic,” he said. “I just want to be the best. Nobody told me to. I didn’t have a mother or father telling me to pick up this ball. Or go run as fast as you can. That’s just me. I feel I am blessed with a mindset to want to be the best and want to get better. That’s why it’s important to me. I have the opportunity. Why not capitalize on it? The Dolphins took a chance on me so it’s time to make that investment pay off.”
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