Al Harris Thankful for Health
Next game: Sunday, November 30 vs. Carolina
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Al Harris knows he has much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
The Green Bay Packers veteran cornerback was giving thanks Thursday that he has been able to come back from a potentially season-ending and career-threatening lacerated spleen suffered earlier this season.
"I am extremely thankful. Extremely thankful," Harris said as the Packers prepared for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field. "It was scary. It just made me put my life in perspective. This (football) is only a small piece, but an important piece. I appreciate it a little more.
"It was scary. I thought it was over for the year."
He missed the Packers next four games, but as it turns out, has been nothing short of phenomenal since returning to action Nov. 2 against Tennessee.
In the four games Harris has played -- against the Titans, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints -- he allowed only one completion, a 10-yarder to Bears tight end Greg Olsen.
He was the lone bright spot in the Packer's defense in last week's 51-29 loss to the Saints, as quarterback Drew Brees threw his direction only once all night, and the ball fell incomplete.
"He really played well. And that was the good news," defensive coordinator Bob Sanders said of Harris, who was matched with Marques Colston and Devery Henderson in the game. "He's one of the hardest workers we've got in practice. And it's showing in the game."
Harris has long had a reputation for having a good work ethic, but cornerbacks coach Lionel Washington said he has seen a change since Harris returned from the injury.
"It seems like he's more focused. Even in practice, he's working his techniques -- his footwork, his hand placement -- better," Washington said. "Not that he wasn't focused before, but I think he's more focused on trying to go out there and play every snap as hard as you can play. He's doing the same thing in practice. He's so much more focused in practice and meeting rooms and asking questions, things like that. I think he's doing everything he needs to do.
"He's played pretty doggone good the last few weeks. He's getting back into his groove."
Harris needed to do that after the disappointment of last January's NFC Championship Game, when Plaxico Burress caught most of his 11 passes for 151 yards against him in the New York Giants' victory at Lambeau Field. The Giants went on to the Super Bowl XLII title.
"You get tired of people bringing up the Giants game, the Giants game, the Giants game," Harris said. "The guy caught some passes. He's a good receiver. I just got tired of people trying to define my career here or me as a player based on one game."
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)