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Harris feels primed to have best career season

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The Bears addressed their tight end position this offseason by signing veteran free agent Jimmy Graham and spending their top draft pick on Cole Kmet.

But another new tight end is confident that he, too, can make an impact, even predicting that he will have the best receiving season of his NFL career.

"That's something I know I can do," said Demetrius Harris, who signed with the Bears in February after spending his first six NFL seasons with the Chiefs (2014-18) and Browns (2019). "I most definitely can do it and I'm going to do it." 

Harris believes that he's primed to have a breakout season because he's reuniting with coach Matt Nagy and will play in an offense that's similar to the one he was part of with the Chiefs. Harris spent his first four years in Kansas City working with Nagy, who served as Chiefs quarterbacks coach from 2013-15 and offensive coordinator in 2016-17.

Harris, 28, has appeared in 86 NFL games with 39 starts, catching 72 passes for 754 yards and nine touchdowns. His most productive season came in Nagy's final year with the Chiefs in 2017 when the 6-7, 230-pounder had 18 receptions for 224 yards and one TD.

"I feel like I've got a lot in the tank," Harris said. "I haven't had real injuries. With this offense that I know, I love, I'm so happy to be back in this offense. I just learned from the best, learned from coach [Andy] Reid … Just knowing how much of an offensive guru coach Reid is and knowing 'Nags' really learned from him, coach Reid was like a scientist to the offense and you could see it in Nagy. I see the same thing that I saw in coach Reid."

The chance to reunite with Nagy played a major role in Harris signing with the Bears two days after he was released by the Browns. 

"He's a lovable person," Harris said. "He welcomes you with open arms and he just tries to see the perspective of the players and the players' side. He's a very good spoken players coach, and I love Nagy for that. There are not a lot of coaches you can be around that you can be yourself without feeling kind of weird. But you feel the love with Nags and he has a good vibe."

Harris entered the NFL with the Chiefs in 2013 as an undrafted free agent without having played a down of college football. He played basketball at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which did not have a football team.

After spending his rookie year on Kansas City's practice squad in 2013, Harris played in eight games in 2014 before a broken foot ended his season. He has since appeared in at least 15 games each of the last five years.

In a familiar offense with the Bears and playing the same "Y" tight end position as Kmet, Harris is happy to help the rookie second-round pick learn the playbook.

"I know all the little tweaks and all the good stuff to be successful in this offense," Harris said. "So yeah, I most definitely always help. I'm always a helping person. So whatever information I've got, I give away. Because the more people you can help, man, the more people can be successful with you. 

"I love to help. I'm all open arms and the mentor and will tell him what I know and what I've learned from other players to help him prepare faster than probably what I did or what somebody else did. So it's good to spread out the information that I know."

Harris' familiarity with the system is already paying dividends for Kmet and the Bears' other tight ends.

"He helps in many ways, tremendously," said first-year tight ends coach Clancy Barone. "In fact, he's helped already a lot. He's helped me. The fact that he knows this offense, he was brought up in this offense, and there's some times where I've actually asked him, 'Back when you were with the Chiefs, how'd you guys do this? How did you see this certain technique or this certain concept and so forth?' 

"It's always good to hear it from the player's point of view. From that, he's been helpful to me. He's also been very helpful for the other tight ends because he can kind of blend that experience from how he's done it, some things that worked and probably some things that didn't work."

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