ENGLEWOOD, Colo. –Entering 2014, only one defender on the Broncos' roster has appeared in more regular-season games with the club than cornerback Chris Harris Jr. – safety David Bruton.
Harris has played 47 games, including 31 starts since joining the team as a college free agent in 2011.
As a veteran on the Denver defense, he plans on expanding his leadership role this year.
"Yeah, I feel like last year, I definitely took a step up in the leadership role and was involved with a lot of the film work and gameplanning and stuff like that," Harris said. "I definitely feel like I could take another step in doing that and being a little bit more vocal in the locker room and making sure everyone is ready."
Both of last year's defensive captains are no longer Broncos, as the team released cornerback Champ Bailey and linebacker Wesley Woodyard signed with the Titans as an unrestricted free agent.
That leaves openings for leaders to step up and fill.
"Going into my fourth year here, learning under Champ, he kind of passed me the baton," Harris said. "I'm just excited to be able to step up into that role."
Although he's not the most experienced player in the Broncos' locker room, he is one of the longest-tenured with the club. He joins fellow class of 2011 rookies Rahim Moore and Von Miller as the defensive starters who have been with the team the longest behind Kevin Vickerson, who joined the team in 2010.
"Well, (cornerback Aqib) Talib has been in the league a little bit longer, but with this team, I've been here the longest," Harris said. "I feel like it's my secondary and that I'm definitely one of the leaders on the defense."