By Romi Bean

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – Shelby Harris was cut six different times in his first three NFL seasons — four times by the Oakland Raiders, who drafted him in the seventh round in 2014, once by the New York Jets, and once by the Cowboys. This year, Harris starts the season as a full-time starter, something he never dreamed of just a few seasons ago.

Shelby Harris celebrates after making a tackle for a loss against the 49ers at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on Aug. 19. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

“I remember it was my third year,” Harris said. “I wasn’t on the a team for the first 14 weeks of the season. I had just done a workout with the Chargers, and I remember telling my wife, ‘I’m done with this. I’m tired of going to these workouts and not getting signed.'”

For most players, getting cut six times in three years would mean the end of their NFL career. For Shelby Harris, it was just the beginning.

(credit: CBS)

“I feel like it’s a storybook. You have the struggles early, and then the success comes,” Harris said.

When the Denver Broncos signed Shelby Harris to a futures contract in 2017, he was a long shot to make the team. Harris was competing for a roster spot and for playing time against the team’s second round draft pick Adam Gotsis and newly acquired free agent Zach Kerr. The defensive lineman stepped onto the NFL stage in the Broncos 2017 regular season-opener. He blocked a potential game-tying field goal to save the Broncos win over the rival Chargers.

Shelby Harris of the Denver Broncos blocks a potential game-tying kick by Younghoe Koo of the Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 11, 2017. (credit: John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

“When I blocked that kick, I almost broke down. After everything I had been through, I finally make the team, and then I block the field goal to win the game – it was just like a hell yeah,” Harris.

Defensive end Shelby Harris of the Denver Broncos celebrates winning the game with Chris Harris Jr. on Sept. 11, 2017. (credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Since then, Harris has been a consistent and an invaluable member of the Broncos defensive line. And in 2018, he did what most lineman only dream of doing in the NFL — intercepting a future Hall of Fame quarterback.

Harris celebrates after a fourth quarter interception to seal the Broncos 24-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on Nov. 25, 2018. (credit: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

“I feel like picking off Ben Roethlisberger is number one, and then the blocked kick is number two. That was my first interception, so it has to be on top of the list. It was a huge game. It kept us in the playoff hunt. The blocked kick was a special teams play, but still, to say you blocked a kick in an NFL game, in your first game with the team, is pretty awesome,” Harris said.

CBS4’s Romi Bean interviews Harris. (credit: CBS)

This offseason Harris put plenty of extra work in, because now that he’s a starter he plans to keep it that way.

“This offseason felt different because I wanted to make sure I was in the best shape possible. Being the No. 1 guy this year, I don’t want to take it for granted. I want to earn it,” Harris said.

Romi Bean

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