Chargers May Have A Rookie In A Big Role

Harris Filling In At Left Tackle

By Derek Togerson
|  Friday, Aug 17, 2012  |  Updated 11:59 PM PDT
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Chargers May Have A Rookie In A Big Role

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(Photo by Kent C. Horner/Getty Images)

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The Chargers and Cowboys play pre-season game number two Saturday night at the Q. Starters could play up a half of football, which means lots of playing time for rookie free agent Mike Harris.

The massive human wearing number 79 might find himself in a role even larger than his 6 foot, 5 inch, 315 pound self.

Left tackle Jared Gaither, the guy the Chargers signed to a big deal in the off-season, hasn't been practicing because of a back issue. So, Harris went from being undrafted out of UCLA to starting at left tackle and protecting the blind side of Philip Rivers, in about 4 months.

His first action in an NFL game was last week against Green Bay and Pro Bowler Clay Matthews. Up next, Dallas and Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware. Harris learned fast just how different the National Football League is from the Pac-12 Conference.

“Just the speed,” said Harris after not allowing a sack in his first pro game against the Packers. “The athletes out there, everybody’s playing hard. The game is very violent. I’ve got to match those guys’ intensity.”

It’s not out of the question to have a rookie at arguably the most important position on the offensive line. In 2006, Marcus McNeill was in his first year when LaDainian Tomlinson put together the greatest offensive season in NFL history.

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