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Bears’ 60-second rant: Harris' future not looking bright

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Dan Parr
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Posted Sept. 28, 2010 @ 7:15 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

How does DT Tommie Harris go from being a starter to not being one of the Bears' best 45 players in eight days?

Harris, who started each of the previous two games, didn't suit up on Monday night, but not because of an injury or for disciplinary reasons. It was a coach's decision, Lovie Smith said of the move to make the three-time Pro Bowler inactive for the battle against the Packers.

"We have everybody healthy right now," Smith said. "Just felt like we wanted to get a look at Marcus Harrison, him and (Henry) Melton inside a little bit. (It was) just performance based. Tommie's been doing everything we asked him to do."

To tell Harris that he wasn't good enough to make the active roster, and then to go out and beat one of the best teams in the league without him had to bruise Harris' ego, which he has shown to be quite sizable at certain points of his career.

I don't think Smith was simply trying to send a message to Harris, although he certainly wouldn't mind if it motivated him to play better. Pulling him out of the starting lineup would have been a strong message. Harris has spent virtually his entire career as a starter. This wasn't about motivation for the future.

There has long been talk that Harris' career would be shortened because of injuries, and maybe the wear and tear has finally caught up to him, but there was no inkling of that all offseason. Harris was said to be as healthy as he had been in a long time heading into this season — he reportedly did not have surgery in the offseason for the first time in five years.

Harris said he'll talk to the media on Wednesday and, depending on what he says, his response could overshadow the Bears' surprising 3-0 start. Smith has said Harris could be on the active roster next week, and we should have a pretty good idea of how he'll approach that opportunity on Wednesday.

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