(CBSLA)- The NFL is continuing to plan as if the season will be played as scheduled this year with the league hoping to open training camps in late July to allow teams to ramp back up for the season. While the league continues to work on protocols to keep players and staff safe, there is still concern about potentially catching the coronavirus.
New Los Angeles Chargers corner Chris Harris Jr. articulated that concern well on Pro Football Talk on NBC Sports with Mike Florio. Harris says he’s not so much concerned with getting the virus himself as he is concerned about potentially passing it on to his family.
“With me, I know I can beat it. I know that I can try to fight through it the best that I can. But, it’s just worrying about my four little girls and my wife and my family,” said Harris Jr. “That’s where I have a big issue is not putting them in danger. I don’t want to be the cause of them getting sick or anything from that. That’s where the worry comes from.”
Harris Jr. saw former teammate Von Miller go through having the virus earlier this offseason and the struggle that brings with it. But his main concern, is for his family and his four daughters, making sure that they don’t get sick. The league is continuing to work on its health and safety protocols in order to attempt to prevent those kinds of issues, though it remains to be seen how effective they’ll be.
In the meantime, teams and players are preparing for the upcoming season virtually going through everything from team meetings to workouts over video conference calls. For Harris Jr., who is joining a new team in L.A. following nine seasons in Denver, it’s been a little uncomfortable but he says that he is excited to take that discomfort and grow from it.
“It’s an uncomfortable situation. I haven’t really gotten to meet my teammates face to face, coaches included or anybody in the organization. That is different,” said Harris Jr. “But I’m excited about it. I feel like you get the most growth when you’re put in uncomfortable situations. So, I’m looking at it that way and taking it as a challenge.”
Speaking of Denver, that was the only team that Harris Jr. had known in his NFL career, joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2011. Leaving that situation was, as one would expect, difficult. But Harris says he understands it’s part of the business.
“It was definitely hard. It wasn’t easy. That’s your first love, it’s always hard to lose your first love. But, it was a situation where it was just time to go our separate ways,” said Harris Jr. “You see that happen a lot in the NFL, you see that happen a lot in sports. Not many players are able to play for one team their whole career. You even saw it with Peyton Manning. It was just my time to move on.”
That said, Harris Jr. is particularly excited to join a Chargers defense that has a star-studded cast of names. He told Florio that Chargers safety Derwin James is up there with the most talented guys he’s ever played with.
“When I see Derwin James, I haven’t played with anybody as talented as Derwin James other than Aqib Talib or Champ Bailey,” said Harris Jr. “But, nobody like Derwin James in the way that he can mess up the secondary. I’m excited to play with him, Bosa and Ingram, those guys give me familiarity of what Von (Miller) and D(Demarcus) Ware or Von and (Elvis) Dumervil used to mess up the game.”
Harris Jr. hasn’t gotten the chance to get on the field with those new teammates just yet, but he says he’s excited about the possibilities of what the defense could be heading in to 2020.