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Harris Jr. 'Thankful and Blessed' in Return

Posted Jul 30, 2014

Chris Harris Jr. was back at practice on Wednesday, donning full gear for the first time since his injury against the Chargers in January.

DENVER -- Move over Adrian Peterson. Enter Chris Harris Jr.

After being removed from the PUP list on Tuesday, Harris made his return to the field at Wednesday's open practice at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, just six and a half months after tearing his ACL against the Chargers in the playoffs.

"I know everyone always talks about [Vikings RB] Adrian Peterson’s comeback, but you all need to talk about my comeback because I came back a lot faster than Adrian Peterson did,” Harris said after practice, laughing.

It wasn't exactly perfect conditions for his return -- "I would choose to come back on a rainy day like this," he joked -- but Harris was "thankful and blessed" to be back on the field.

The fans gave him a warm welcome when he came out of the tunnel, and cheered as Harris worked through individual drills. Harris said he didn't feel tentative despite it being his first action on his repaired knee.

"They actually had to slow me down a couple of times even in the walkthrough," he said. "Right now the walkthrough is like practice to me. I’m just getting back out there and getting my skills retuned and ready to go.”

Perhaps a small part of Harris' speedy comeback should be credited to Von Miller, who suffered a similar injury three weeks before Harris. Miller's recovery, certainly impressive in its own right, has given Harris someone to chase and use to monitor his progress.

"Just competing with him and him being ahead of me helped push me to get to where he was faster," Harris said.

Harris also said it was good to get back on the field with his former teammate at Kansas, Aqib Talib. The chemistry is already there between the two, Harris noted, and his own knowledge of the defense should help him slide in seamlessly.

It may be a few weeks before we see Harris back in full-speed action, whether it's in practice with his teammates or against an opponent in the preseason. But he seemed confident that even if he isn't ready for preseason game action, he can jump right in when Week 1 arrives on Sept. 7.

For all the improvement the defense has shown through the first week of training camp, Harris' reassimilation could prove to be the final piece of the puzzle.

"We are definitely aggressive and we are a totally different defense compared to last year with all the new faces that we have," he said. "I think you will all see a big difference when I get out there with everyone else on the defense.”