Football Club’s Chris Harris finalist for NFL contest

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Football Club’s Chris Harris finalist for NFL contest

The winners for the

The winners for the "Together We Make Football" contest will be announced in the next two weeks during the NFC Divisional and Conference Championship game on Fox.

The winners for the "Together We Make Football" contest will be announced in the next two weeks during the NFC Divisional and Conference Championship game on Fox.

The winners for the "Together We Make Football" contest will be announced in the next two weeks during the NFC Divisional and Conference Championship game on Fox.

By Matthew Saulino

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Chris Harris, 33, a defensive lineman of Oakland’s first-year football club, is a finalist for the NFL’s “Together We Make Football” contest.

Winning would send Harris to February’s Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey. The winners will be announced in the next two weeks during the NFC Divisional and Conference Championship game on Fox.

After seeing a commercial for the contest on NFL Network, Harris, a graduate student, wasted no time typing up his entry.

“I knew early on I had a gift for football. My dad, my brothers, my uncles, we would go outside and play,” Harris said in his video bid for the contest. 

Hardships

Harris weighed 500 pounds in high school and was bullied because of it. “The downfall of my high school life was when I found out how easy it was to just walk out the door,” Harris said in the video. “I just walked out of school and nobody stopped me and nobody said anything.”

That door led Harris down a dark alley of depression and alcoholism, which led to him becoming suicidal, as well. Things began to look up once Harris’ mom saw a flier for the semi-pro team Motor City Cougars and their tryouts.

“I couldn’t see myself living to even be 20,” Harris said. “In 2004, my mom had seen something in the newspaper looking for football players. She called them and told them that I’m coming. It gave me something to live for.”

But again in 2008, Harris encountered more hardships.

“My cousin was murdered and it was right around the time my grandfather had passed, it took me to a really dark place,” Harris said in an interview with My TV20 Detroit. 

Progression

Football helped Harris fight through obstacles and keep going. Once Harris began studying to get his masters in counseling in OU’s graduate school, he came across a flyer about Oakland starting up a club team. 

“He wanted to become an officer, and he wanted to do everything he could to get the club started,” club adviser and wide receiver Nic Bongers said in Harris’ video. “He always wants the next chance to get better.”

“I think it’s great, I mean he’s come a long way,” said Football Club quarterback Brandon Tucker. “I think we all have noticed that being with him around Oakland.

“And I mean he’s a good role model for me, because he’s always talking to us, hyping us up, giving us a lot of supportive info and stuff like that. I really hope he does get this chance to go to the Super Bowl, and it’d be a great experience for him and he’s definitely well-deserving.”

Harris already feels like a winner for just being able to tell his story, and his goal as a counseling student is to help people find their saving grace.

“Any time I got really down, football would come knocking,” he said. “And that’s why I love football.”

Addition contributions by Jake Alsko