Lovie Smith didn’t directly call out Tommie Harris for a lack of effort in practice, he more or less did with his statement today. Reading between the lines you can guess that Smith essentially stated he wanted to see more from Tommie Harris in practice in order for him to be playing in the games. Smith essentially said that Harris didn’t play against the Bengals because it was a coach’s decision not to play him. Essentially he benched Tommie Harris for not practicing the week before.
Not that it really matters because the entire team didn’t practice leading up to the Bengals game. At least that’s what the result on the field points to. I can say only this it’s hard to step away and figure out this situation for what it is and nothing we find in the media is even close to the truth. Nothing we hear from the Chicago Bears’ organization is anywhere near the truth either.
There are only bits and pieces that we can gather of the Tommie Harris situation, and what we do know isn’t much.
The main question is do we really know the real Tommie Harris? I don’t believe we do we don’t know Harris’ mind set, we don’t know his desire to succeed or his lack of desire or care. The Bears haven’t helped the situation because they prefer to keep everything so tight lipped and not report anything certainly not the truth.
Evidence of this can be the constant statement that Tommie Harris is 100-percent and has been since Lovie Smith reported it as much prior to the start of training camp. Thing was Harris it turned it out had off-season knee surgery and was no where near 100-percent as a result of it. Nor is he totally ready to go now.
The Bears on the other hand prefer to state that he is ready to go and they won’t admit they made a mistake. Just like benching Frank Omiyale would be admitting a free agency mistake, benching Tommie Harris to let him heal would be admitting a mistake as well. Admitting that they gave him a ton of money before they were sure his knee was healed. So the media spin heavy Jerry Angelo trumpets the proclamation to cover his own ass that Tommie Harris is healthy and ready to play. When it’s obvious he is not healthy and ready to play nor should he be playing.
But Harris is a trooper and marches on because he obviously doesn’t want to look bad for taking money and being injured at the same time. Harris exasperates the injury by playing on it and not being productive while at the same time not wanting to be called out for his lack of practicing playing and production.
Right now it’s a never ending cycle of problems on his knee injury, he plays but doesn’t practice to rest his knee. When he was healthy there was also reports and quotes that surfaced that Harris wanted to give up football altogether and that his heart and head were no longer in the game. Even if he has moved beyond that and stepped up his game before the injury, with the injury now there is no way to tell how much his heart is in it with the injury.
Tommie Harris is damaged goods both emotionally and physically and he is doing precisely what everyone asks him to do. Play through his injury and earn your money.
Meanwhile he has his coach and the front office stabbing him in the back by proclaiming he’s healthy when he’s not. The media doesn’t do any sort of investigation into why Harris has been hurt. They missed out on the knee surgery and then they report as fact whatever Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith throw out there as a quote.
Further confusing the situation is that Tommie Harris is not a very media friendly person in the first place. He’s not one to take kindly to the type of coverage or judgment he has received from the media. By result he clams up even more, appears even more stand offish and sets himself up for even more media or even fan driven speculation about his mind set or his health.
The truth of the matter is this, Tommie Harris should not be practicing or playing and he should be afforded every opportunity to heal. That’s his right to heal from an injury. The Bears were the ones who screwed up here, not Tommie Harris. Harris never threatened to hold out or leave if he wasn’t given his fair market value in a contract deal.
What has happened it pretty simple to see if you look through all the Chicago Bears media driven spin, Tommie Harris has been injured and has been injured for a long time. The Bears made a mistake that they will refuse to admit to and have managed to drive the story against Harris and black ball him as an individual.
They leak out tidbits that Tommie Harris isn’t showing up for rehab sessions to fix his knee, they paint him as lazy and uninterested all the while failing to admit their own mistake of doing their due diligence to make sure Harris was healthy. Since he is obviously not healthy and does need his rest the Bears should afford him that rest and give him the opportunity to properly heal and rehab his knee so that he can come back healthy and ready to play.
If the Bears do choose to cut Harris and he does in turn get a chance to rest and rehab and get healthy and get the proper mind set to continue his football career with another team he could come back to haunt us. A Tommie Harris that has the chance to heal before another team decides to gamble on signing him much the same way the Bengals gambled on Cedric Benson after the Bears released him.
As it stands right now the situation is progressing along the same lines as the Benson situation did. This might be something to follow as the season progresses.