GREEN BAY – After 14 NFL seasons, two Pro Bowls, 12 playoff games, 21 career interceptions and two torn anterior cruciate ligaments, former Green Bay Packers cornerback Al Harris is calling it a career.
The 37-year-old Harris, who spent this season with the St. Louis Rams, announced his retirement at his locker Wednesday. He is scheduled to join Green & Gold Today on ESPNMilwaukee and ESPNMadison on Thursday morning.
"As far as playing, that'll be it," Harris told reporters in St. Louis. "That was my last play. But as far as football is concerned, you'll see me again."
Harris is scheduled to undergo knee surgery Jan. 13 in Florida for the torn ACL he suffered in a Nov. 13 against Cleveland.
“I had an awesome time,” Harris told CBSSports.com. “I thank (Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo) for giving me an opportunity to come and help out. I hope I left a positive impression on everybody.”
A sixth-round draft pick out of Texas A&M-Kingsville by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1997, Harris spent his first NFL season on the Buccaneers practice squad, then the next five years with the Philadelphia Eagles before being traded to the Packers. He arrived in Green Bay in 2003 and delivered one of the most memorable plays in franchise playoff history, intercepting a Matt Hasselbeck pass in overtime of the team’s NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks and returning it for the game-winning touchdown.
In 2010, his final season in Green Bay, he spent the first half of the year on the physically unable to perform list while coming back from a catastrophic left knee injury suffered in November 2009.
Harris tore the ACL, the lateral collateral ligament, the IT band, the fibular collateral ligament and the lateral hamstring in his left knee and leg on Nov. 22, 2009. He underwent reconstructive surgery by team physician Pat McKenzie eight days later, and despite a rigorous rehabilitation program that was chronicled in YouTube videos, Harris would never play for the Packers again.
Cut by the Packers in November 2010, he caught on with the Miami Dolphins but suffered a hamstring injury that landed him on injured reserve, from which he was later waived. He signed with the Rams this offseason and appeared in nine games with five starts, including against the Packers on Oct. 16 at Lambeau Field. He finished the season with 20 tackles, seven pass breakups and a fumble recovery and by all accounts was playing well when he suffered his second torn ACL, this time in his right knee.
Harris said he plans on staying in the game as a coach.
“I’m going to come back to coach. I’ve got my mind made up about that,” he said. “Professionally, I hit every single goal I set out for myself. Now it’s time to turn the page and set a new set of goals.”
Return to: Jason Wilde Blog