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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.