As Chris Harris Jr. has watched himself grow into a genuine star cornerback in Denver, so too has he seen his family develop, too. With his wife, Leah, Chris is raising three daughters — Aria, Avianna and Aliyah, who is less than a week old. We caught up with him to find out what life is like as an NFL player who also has three young children.
DenverBroncos.com: So what's it like being a father to three girls now?
Chris Harris Jr.: "It's huge. It just makes my hunger go even more. I just want to do whatever I can to take care of them and have them have a great life, and, shoot, to ball out this year. It kind of gives you more of an edge. The urgency's higher to play good this year."
DB: What do you enjoy most about being a father?
CHJ: "Seeing them happy, just being able to have fun. Being able to not have to worry about anything."
DB: Does having a third child change much?
CHJ: "It doesn't change anything because our oldest one is getting pretty old and she's pretty smart now, so she's a big helper. It's kind of easy now to have the oldest one help with the new baby. Things haven't been hard at all so far."
DB: What's fatherhood like in the season vs. during the offseason?
CHJ: "In the season, I'm usually tired and they're in school too, but really just being able to hang out with them at night time. During the offseason they can see me all day and be able to have fun and being able to take them to Chuckee Cheese and stuff like that, be able to be more in their lives, compared to the season."
DB: Is it harder to be away from home as your children get older and become able to do more and form life-long memories?
CHJ: "It's definitely harder to be away. I just try to FaceTime as much as possible. She kind of understands now that I have to go to work, so she understands it. That's something that they always need me but they don't feel like it's right unless I'm there with them."
DB: Do you think Aria grasps that what you do is different from what other parents do for work?
CHJ: "I think so. I think she knows just because she's seen me on TV so many times already. She knows other people's parents aren't going to be on TV. I think that's one way she's grasped it pretty fast."
DB: Is there something that sticks out that you've been proud to teach your kids?
CHJ: "Just being strong. I think that's one thing. If they fall down, they get hurt or whatever, I've taught them to always be strong."
DB: Is there anything you're looking forward to in particular when it comes to watching them grow up?
CHJ: "Aw, man, definitely not the wedding dates, because I'll have to pay for three. But I'd say once they can really start playing competitive sports. Right now, they're playing gymnastics, and they're doing that pretty good. I know they want to play other sports. So once I can start coaching them and doing that stuff, I think it's going to be fun."
DB: What can you see in them that makes you say, like, 'Oh yeah, that's me'?
CHJ: "My second daughter, Avianna, if she wants something, she's not going to take no for an answer. She's the one that's exactly like me. If she wants it, she's going to get it."
DB: Is that stubbornness or determination?
CHJ: [Laughs] "I think it's both. A combination of both."
DB: Can you imagine being a single parent, even with just one child?
CHJ: "It would definitely be tough. Having a partner makes it a lot easier. Me, since I have girls, she's kind of the disciplinarian. She takes that role. I kind of have to enforce it every once in a while, but she's the enforcer just because we have girls. It's good to have a partner with you."
[Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.]