After sitting out the team’s preseason opener against the Detroit Lions last Thursday, rookie running back Damien Harris made his debut Saturday in the Patriots’ 22-17 win over the Tennessee Titans.
Harris, the 87th overall pick out of the University of Alabama, reportedly missed time due to a hand/wrist injury, but he looked sharp against Tennessee with over 100 all-purpose yards. He carried the ball 14 times for 80 yards, including a 20-yard rush to end the first quarter and a 17-yard scamper in the third. Harris also caught all four passes that came his way for a total of 23 yards, hauling in a 10-yard reception in the first quarter off a feed from quarterback Brian Hoyer.
Harris said he wasn’t more anxious than usual to get on the field because he’d missed his first game. He was thrilled to get on the field at all.
“I just looked at it as my first opportunity to play with this team,” Harris told reporters. “That’s what I was excited about. Last week was in the past, so that wasn’t anything that I was necessarily focusing on this week.”
He credited the other running backs for helping him and fellow rookie Nick Brossette transition to the NFL. Harris doesn’t view the experience of working with those around him as a competition, but rather as a learning opportunity.
“We all just try to be our best, because we know that we all push each other,” he said. “That’s just kind of how we see it. There’s not really any competition, no selfishness, just a brotherhood, and I’m thankful to be a part of it.”