CORTLAND, N.Y. -- He seems to wear a perpetual game face that gives off an air of aloofness. But Sunday, Jets inside linebacker David Harris displayed a part of him he rarely shows in public.
As he trudged off the field following a rain-soaked morning practice, the 6-foot-2, 245-pound tackling machine revealed his soft side. He exploded into a mega-watt smile when the subject turned to June 19 when he married his college sweetheart, Jiali Wu, on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
The couple dated for five years before finally tying the knot in a small ceremony in front of family and two best men, boyhood friends from his native Grand Rapids, Mich.
''We had our honeymoon down there, too,'' said a beaming Harris. ''That's paradise already. You don't need to go anywhere else. We had a good time.
''Jiali (pronounced Jolly) brings me a lot of joy and happiness in my life. I'm glad I did it. I'm so happy.''
If Harris is happy, the Jets are elated. After an injury-filled 2008 season, Harris is back and ready to team with ex-Ravens linebacker Bart Scott in the middle of what promises to be an intimidating, blitz-happy defense that coach Rex Ryan is ready to risk his reputation on.
''That's pretty good,'' said Ryan of the pair. ''I think every team in the league wishes they had a combo of those two guys.''
The hope is that Scott and Harris can wreak the same type of mayhem that Scott and his all-universe former teammate, Ray Lewis, did for the past four seasons in Baltimore. Anchored by the pair, the Ravens never finished lower than sixth in the NFL in total defense during that stretch.
This season, Harris will be given more freedom. In the 3-4 scheme, he was solely a run stuffer. Now, he'll be able to blitz, drop back into pass cover and play the run. Ryan calls him a ''complete'' middle linebacker.
''All the linebackers are excited,'' said Harris. ''Opposing offenses will never know what's going to come. We're going to be flying around. We think it's going to be a special year.''
In Baltimore, Scott was the set-up man for Lewis, doing all the dirty work while Lewis got all the glory, and the tackles. This season, Scott will again play the role of the facilitator, crashing into lead blockers so Harris can make the tackle. But there will be a new twist.
Whereas Scott and Lewis weren't interchangeable, Scott and Harris are. Thus, Harris will sometimes run interference for Scott and the pair will share the accolades.
''I'm hoping we can complement each other and be a dynamic duo in the middle,'' said Scott, who has notched four consecutive 100-plus-tackle seasons. ''We want people to know it's going to be tough sledding when they deal with either one of us.''
Asked if the tandem might remind people of he and Lewis, Scott said, ''We're far away from that. We just have to continue to work. That's putting a Hall-of-Famer in the scenario.''
Harris, 25, says he's looking forward to pairing with the trash-talking Scott.
''It's going to be fun because Bart is an energetic guy,'' said Harris. ''He plays with a lot of passion and he knows the defense. He's like a coach on the field.''
Harris, who led the Jets in tackles with 117 as a rookie -- the first rookie since 1979 to do so, suffered through an injury-riddled sophomore slump last season. He missed most of training camp with a foot injury, suffered a groin injury against the Chiefs in Week 7 that required surgery (he missed five games) and sustained a broken fibula in the season finale against the Dolphins.
''Last season was a down year for me,'' said Harris, who finished with 87 tackles in 11 games. ''Hopefully, it was just one of those years and I got all of the injuries out of the way and I can keep getting better.''