Bob Sanders won't be suiting up for the Chargers anymore. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
The Chargers were in need of more depth on their defensive line and they had to make room on the roster in order to do that. From that perspective this move is not at all surprising. However, the names involved are enough to catch one off guard. Bob Sanders was signed this offseason to be a playemaker. Sure, he's had plenty of injury problems in the past, but the Chargers have known for years that they needed more out of the safety position and a healthy Bob Sanders could do that. Things looked good in the preseason, but it only took a couple regular season games before Sanders had to miss multiple practices. The Chargers stayed mum about the severity of Sanders' current injury issues, but they brought back Paul Oliver as insurance and then left Sanders off the active roster for the game against the Chiefs. Something was up and now we know that something was serious. So, once again Bob Sanders will earn a paycheck while resting on injured reserve and the Chargers are left with a safety situation that is almost exactly the same as the one they had last year.
As for the newest Charger, he shares some similarities with Bob Sanders. He hasn't missed nearly the time that Sanders has, but he's definitely been injury prone. Also, like Sanders he's played at a very high level when he's been healthy. In 2004, he finished 2nd in the defensive rookie of the year voting in his debut season for the Chicago Bears. The next year he made his first Pro Bowl. In 2006, he suffered a severe hamstring injury and had to miss the end of the season. That included the Bears playoff run that ended with a Super Bowl loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He made the Pro Bowl that year as well. Despite the injury the Bears rewarded him with a big contract (the Colts did the same with Sanders) and he did make another Pro Bowl that next season. However, that would be his last as injuries limited his role over the next few seasons. The Colts brought him into their camp this season, but cut him before week 1.
When Harris was in his prime he was compared to former Tampa Bay and Oakland great Warren Sapp. He was a guy that played in the opposing team's backfield and did it under Head Coach Lovie Smith who had also coached Sapp in Tampa. He was quick and strong and could beat offensive linemen like few can. However, the Chargers will not ask him to be that player. The Chargers still play the 3-4 and ask their defensive linemen to take on double teams and hold up offensive linemen so that the linebackers can make plays. Can Harris transition to become that type of player? Or do the Chargers have a role in mind for him that will fit his current skillset? I'm sure we'll find out soon since in all likelihood they'll need him to be part of the defensive line rotation come Sunday afternoon.