ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – On Oct. 23, 2014, the Broncos had plenty to think about as they prepared to face the Chargers on Thursday night in prime time. No divisional rivalry game can be underestimated and following the game, the Broncos would begin a three-game road trip that would surely test them.
But one Bronco had a little bit extra on his mind.
Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. was concentrated on the task at hand, but also on his wife, Leah, who was patiently waiting for him so she could give birth to their first child – a daughter.
While Harris Jr. may have had a lot going through his mind during the game, he was able to maintain his focus and even pick off Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers in the third quarter. On the ensuing drive, the Broncos punched in their third score of the night en route to a 35-21 win.
The media caught up with the elated Harris Jr. following the game as he ran off the field with a smile.
"Chris — your night's just getting started, right?" asked a reporter.
"I got a baby coming right now!" he exclaimed.
Two days later, Aria Anatalya Harris was born.
"[The birth] especially was [hectic] because we had a game the same day, and I was trying stay focused for the game and worry about my wife having a baby," said Harris Jr. "That was definitely one of the hardest games to play in for sure."
Now, eight months later, Harris Jr. has been spending his offseason with his wife and Aria. These off months have made it easier for him to balance his work and enjoy watching her grow.
"It's gotten way easier," said Harris. "She's growing every day and you start to see her personality. She loves to play all day, so that's been fun just to be able to get off work and hang out with her all day.
"You'd be surprised even at a young age, she's still going on eight months, but as soon as I walk in the room her eyes just go straight on me."
While Aria is still young and growing every day, Harris Jr. says she loves to sit on the back of his neck and play together. As she grows, he enjoys the activities that they share together.
"When she's taking a bath, just splashing with her and having a giggle," said Harris Jr. "She's always very playful in the bath. That's always pretty fun."
Part of enjoying parenthood is always the firsts—first holidays, first steps, first words—and this Sunday, Harris Jr. will celebrate his first Father's Day with Aria and Leah.
"I'm excited, definitely," he said. "You definitely know what it means to be a father from when you watch your pops and now that you're actually the head of the house you can see how much is needed."
Look through the best photos of Chris Harris Jr. from his time with the Broncos.