Hours before the Broncos' game on Sunday in Southern California, defensive lineman Shelby Harris learned that his wife was in labor with their fourth child. So he sent a tweet — half elation, half a pipe dream.
"Let's hurry this game up gotta make it home for the birth of my son!" he wrote.
As Head Coach Vic Fangio said after the game, the team was prepared to play without Harris to give him the opportunity to welcome his son to the world.
"It was close," Fangio said. "It was something we discussed and he came to the decision — we had a flight for him, made an arrangement for him to miss the game. He chose to stay, and now we have him on a private flight that the club's picking up for him, and he's going to get back a couple hours hopefully before the rest of us."
Harris had a solid outing on the field with four total tackles, one quarterback hit and two passes defensed, and his teammates could admire such a performance under the circumstances.
"That is always a blessing when you're able to bring someone else into your life," said inside linebacker Alexander Johnson, himself a father of a young child. "I know he's excited and ready to get back to his new son. Just thinking about you having a baby and then having to go out and play a game, it's kind of hard to explain because that's something you can't really speak for until you have to go through it yourself. I feel like he did his job and it's a blessing that he's able to have his family and go see his family."