Chris Harris is a professional football player now with the NFL’s Chicago Bears but he hasn’t forgotten his college roots.
The Little Rock, Ark., native returns to ULM during the season whenever his schedule allows. Pile driving opponents in Monroe is where the safety earned his nickname “The Hitman” from a certain Warhawk Nation editor. He recorded 14 career interceptions and led the Warhawks in tackles in 2002 with 127.
After a Thursday night game against the Dolphins, Harris was in Malone Stadium on Nov. 20 to see his Warhawks beat North Texas. Harris, who was introduced to the home crowd during the first half and greeted the victors as they left the field, gave an exclusive interview to Warhawk Nation during his visit.
WNation: What brings you back to ULM so often?
Hitman: I love Monroe. It’s got a special place in my heart. I still have love for this school. This is where it all started for me. They gave me the only Division I offer I got to play football. Monroe holds a very special place in my heart.
WNation: Lot of changes at ULM since you were here. Who do you try to see when you come back.
Hitman: Coach (Steve) Farmer is still here. And actually Coach (Todd) Berry. He was here in ’03 when I was here. I like to come back and see those guys. Bobby Staub. Davis Hardy is a great booster. It’s always good to see him.
WNation: You’ve enjoyed a solid NFL. We liked you with the Panthers, but it was tough for a Saints fan to root for your team. I’m sure you’re glad to be back with the Bears (the team that originally drafted Harris as a sixth-rounder in 2005) and Chicago is enjoying a nice season.
Hitman: It’s great to be back. We’re 7-3 right now and in first place in our division. Hopefully we can stay there. I think our defense is playing some of the best football they’ve played around there in a long time. We were able to pitch a shutout last Thursday for the first time since ’06 so that was big.
WNation: So you feel at home back in Chicago?
Hitman: I still have a lot of friends there that were there when I left. Coming back, it wasn’t like I was going to a new team like when I got traded to Carolina. I didn’t know anybody. Everybody is still there and made it feel like home.
WNation: Six years in the NFL and it’s a violent game. You’re the Hitman and you take some shots. How much do you have left in the tank?
Hitman: I think I’ve got a lot left in the tank. My goal is to play 10. The average in the NFL is two and a half years so I’ve beaten those odds to get to six years. My personal goal is to play 10 years as long as I can stay healthy. Anything after that will just be icing on the cake.
WNation: I know you’re familiar with Coach Berry. What do you think about the direction of the program now?
Hitman: I think it’s going in a great direction. Coach Berry is a heck of a coach. I think he came here and brought a totally different attitude into this program. They’re young and have been hit with a few injuries. But they’re gonna be tough. I’m excited to say I’m part of ULM. They’ve got big things ahead of them.