Updated: November 19, 2011 8:53AM
It’s a matter of loyalty.
In April 2010, when the Bears wanted to bring him back for a second run, safety Chris Harris passed up a more lucrative opportunity with another team.
Given his familiarity with the coaches and players, Harris accepted a pay cut that cost him $2.1 million in 2010 and 2011.
“I knew the scheme and the players and coaches, and I felt I had a good chance of winning,” Harris told the Sun-Times on Monday. ‘‘You can call it loyal or dumb or naïve. But I did it.”
So when he struggled against the Lions after missing three games with a hamstring injury, Harris was surprised to be inactive for Sunday night’s game against the Vikings.
“Yeah, I felt disrespected by being inactive,” Harris said.
“It’s a business move, just like they made a business move,” Harris said later. “It’s nothing personal. I feel they have shown that they are moving in a different direction, and I’m apparently not a part of the future plans.”
The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday afternoon, and the Bears have given Harris’ agent, Albert Elias, a chance to explore options elsewhere.
But with his contract, which pays him $1.095 million this season, set to expire, other teams may be reluctant to give up a draft pick for Harris, even though a handful of teams have needs. The best option might be a player-for-player trade, with the other team surrendering a veteran who may also benefit from a fresh start.
“I’m pretty sure the percentage of a trade going down is not very high, considering the amount of time we have,” Harris said. “But crazier things have happened.”
If a trade doesn’t take place, Harris insisted he won’t be a distraction.
“I’m going to be right there doing my job and being a good teammate and being a professional,” Harris said. “I have a strong bond with a lot of guys. So I want to see them succeed.”
Harris acknowledged that he wasn’t 100 percent against the Lions but refused to use that as an excuse.
“I was well enough to go out there and play,” he said. “If you go out there, you’re considered healthy in my book. I didn’t play as well as I should have. I gave up a touchdown pass. I guess they felt I was a part of the problem.”