Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders tussled with each other during a contentious training camp practice session on Monday.
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Harris, a two-time Pro Bowl selection since he made the Broncos’ roster in 2011 as an undrafted rookie, has spent some time this offseason sticking up for himself and his defensive teammates in the wake of the Broncos’ Super Bowl win. He was vocal, on social media and television appearances, in his rebuttal of NFL Network analyst LaDainian Tomlinson’s assertion there are currently no “shutdown” cornerbacks in the league.
After a few moments down on the field, he walked slowly back to the bench area with the team’s trainers. Harris returned to the game before halftime and played the entire second half.
In his letter to Crabtree, Runyan cited the wide receiver for punching Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. in the stomach on the play that preceded the fight with Talib and said Crabtree’s actions with Talib “triggered a melee and endangered various sideline and League personnel, including one of the Game Officials who was injured trying to maintain control of the situation.”
Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. had left the field the play before the confrontation. Harris said Crabtree punched him in the midsection the play before the fight.
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Harris said after the game that Crabtree punched him in the stomach one play before the fight between Talib and Crabtree. Harris stayed down on the field after the play “because I lost my mind” and then, as he walked off the field, motioned toward the Raiders’ bench that Crabtree had punched him.
“It was good, I was kind of happy they had some games on Saturday,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said Monday. “It made the weekend go by a little bit faster. Like I said, it just sucks when you look forward to playing in January in those big games and win the AFC championship, but we can’t look forward to it. We’re just trying to have fun playing football the last two games and finish as strong as possible.”
Harris checked in at No. 63 on the list and has since seen other defensive players, even another player at his position, check in at a better slot. It has been a head-shaking topic of conversation among many in and around the Broncos in the days that have followed and nfl jerseys china after Tuesday’s practice, Harris offered another critique.
Many in the locker believe it all stemmed from the weeks after the Broncos were ousted from the playoffs to close out the 2014 season, when they were upset, at home, by the Indianapolis Colts in a divisional round game. Shortly after that game, Broncos president of football operations/general manager John Elway fired John Fox.
Cockrell is known as a bump-and-run corner, as he has great footwork and hands at the line of scrimmage, and he often disrupts the timing between the quarterback and receiver. His off coverage has progressed, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement there. He hasn’t been known for his tackling, but if you watch the tape this year, you’ll see he’s finally getting to the ball and making the tackle. Hopefully, in a year’s time, Cockrell will be the complete corner the Steelers are looking for.
Several players said Elway’s comments were a topic in their meetings Saturday night and that they had hoped to show a little more than they did against the Bengals. The Broncos’ defense held the Bengals to 190 total yards, including just 49 yards rushing, but the Bengals turned two Broncos’ turnovers into 13 points, which proved to be the difference.
While Bryant won the first round with his first-quarter TD catch over Talib, the cornerback would get his revenge. Harris evened the score when he intercepted Dallas QB Dak Prescott in the third quarter after his pass deflected off Bryant. Talib delivered the knockout blow when he stepped in front of a pass intended for Bryant and took it 103 yards for the pick-six.
Harris didn’t have his best game against the Raiders on Sunday, but he didn’t have his worst, either. He gave up three catches for 29 yards on four targets, but he wasn’t as clean as he usually is coming in and out of breaks. His lateral movement must get back up to par to stall the Saints’ No. 1 passing offense this week.