Undrafted Rookie Damon Harrison Finds a Home With the Jets
Florham Park, NJ- When undrafted rookie free agent from William Penn University, Damon Harrison, first walked onto the Jets practice field he knew the odds were heavily stacked against him. The task of any undrafted rookie trying to make an NFL roster is daunting enough as is, then Harrison looked around at his competition disguised as teammates and decided he had a question for his agent. “What were you thinking?”
Yesterday Harrison was asked when he realized he could make the roster and said, “I didn’t. Like I said, I always just told myself everyday when I came into the locker room, ‘You’re gonna get cut today.’ It’s just something that I use for myself just to get by, just to keep myself working hard. I know I can play football. On the defensive line, it’s a great group of guys. When I first got here, I was like, ‘My agent said this would be a good place for me?’ (laughter) I called him and was like, ‘What were you thinking?’ (laughter) So, (I’m) just working hard and working with those guys. I’m just blessed to be in this situation.”
It’s understandable why Harrison would’ve thought to ask his agent that question. His competition on the line consisted of Sione Po’uha (who just signed a new contract this offseason), Kenrick Ellis (third round draft pick from last year), Muhammad Wilkerson (last year’s first round draft pick), Quinton Coples (this year’s first round draft pick), veteran Mike DeVito and two other talented young defensive ends Marcus Dixon and Jay Richardson. After an entire training camp and four preseason games Harrison’s competition, Dixon and Richardson, is gone and Harrison is still here with the rest of his teammates.
“It feels amazing. I’m just happy to know that hard work does pay off.” Harrison said, “(I) just have to keep working hard so I can remain here.”
Today Harrison feels great to have made the team, but last weekend he was a nervous wreck. Harrison said, “Oh man, I don’t know if I can say this, but it was hell on earth. I’m a confident guy, but at the end of the day I’m a realist as well. I was praying for the best, but preparing for the worst.”
The worst never came, instead he got exactly what he had worked so hard for, a spot on an NFL roster. Harrison might’ve doubted his agent earlier in the offseason, but not anymore. Yes, his agent sent him to a team where he really had to be impressive to have a shot at the roster, but he sent him to a overall great defensive team with new line coach Karl Dunbar (who players can’t stop raving about) and a locker room full of guys willing to help.
“I mean, it’s great. (I’m) just learning from everybody, from Sione (Po’uha) all the way down to Quinton Coples, the rookie, everybody.” Harrison said, “I’m a guy that came from a small school so I need all the help and teaching and coaching I can get so everybody’s been amazing.”
What once seemed like an improbable dream is now Harrison’s reality.