Why Harris never ruled out a return to Eagles

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Anthony Harris’ time with the Eagles ended on Aug. 30. Then it ended again a few days later.

It can be tricky revisiting a relationship that did not end well, but the Eagles and Harris are doing exactly that.

“I guess wilder things have probably happened,” Harris said at his locker Thursday. “Life tends to have a way to come back around. It's kind of like in life you learn lessons, and you know if you don't learn them, they keep showing up until you do get them. 

“So I've just always known to remain open to whatever. The possibilities are endless. So always try to be who I am, regardless of the situation and circumstances. Continue to push to be a good person, a good player and elevate myself in all aspects of life.”

Harris was a starting safety for the Eagles last year but was released the day the Eagles acquired Chauncey Gardner-Johnson from the Saints. One day later, the Eagles signed Harris to their practice squad, but a few days later the two agreed to mutually part ways, and on Sept. 5, the Eagles cut the veteran safety for the second time in seven days.

The Broncos signed Harris a week later, but he played in just three games — only on special teams — before he was released earlier this month.

He was 31, cut for the third time this fall and it was fair to wonder about his future.

Then Reed Blankenship got hurt, and with Gardner-Johnson already out indefinitely, the Eagles were desperate for safety help behind Marcus Epps and K'Von Wallace.

So on Tuesday, they re-signed Harris, adding him to the practice squad for now, although he’ll likely be a game-day elevation on Sunday when the Eagles face the Bears in Chicago.

When Nick Sirianni talks about building relationships, this is what he’s talking about. Without a strong bond between him and Harris, there’s no way Harris comes back.

“Listen, when you have to make a cut, it's not harder on anybody more than the player that's getting cut,” Sirianni said. “It's always hard on me. I always feel like, ‘Hey, we've built these relationships, and this is a hard part of the job,’ but it's not harder for me than it was Anthony.

“That conversation, it’s never going to be a comfortable conversation, it's never going to be a conversation that either guy wants to remember. So it's the time that leads up to that, that's what matters … or the time after that, that connection. That's what you want to build. It makes that conversation harder, but it also keeps you connected to the guy. 

“In this case, I'm really happy we have Anthony back here. I missed him. It's good to see his face again. It's going to be good to see him out at practice, and I'm just happy we have him back.”

Harris has been around long enough not to take things personally. But that's not always easy.

“Different things happen in this business,” he said. “People come and go, and ultimately, you know, we’ve got a good enough relationship that we were able to come back and reunite.

“I was grateful for the opportunity to be here all last year and build with guys. It wasn't able to work out to start the season here, so we parted ways, but now it's an opportunity to be back here together. So I’m just in here learning (and) trying to help this team in any way I can.” 

Harris was a starting safety throughout training camp, and to go from starter to getting released overnight is unusual.

Harris managed not to have any hard feelings toward the Eagles when he was released.

“I just try to stay consistent in who I am and not let outcomes dictate my mood,” he said. “For me, it's just about evaluating where I'm at, evaluating the situation and just figuring out how can I continue to get better from there.”

Harris knows the defense, knows the coaches, knows the players. He’s got a comfort level here that other safeties on the street don’t have.

Bringing him back made a lot of sense. And that’s why building relationships makes a lot of sense.

“Anything can happen,” Harris said. “If you stay around long enough you’ll see it all. It’s all about being grateful for where you’re at but also remaining hungry and humble at the same time.”

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