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'Didn't Get Numbers We Were Expecting For Multi-Year Deal': Denver Broncos Defensive Lineman Shelby Harris Discusses NFL Free Agency

(CBS4)- The spread of the coronavirus has impacted the sports world in a variety of ways, from suspending or outright canceling events to changing how the NFL handles its offseason transactions. For Denver Broncos defensive lineman Shelby Harris, not being able to visit teams as part of the free agency process made for an unusual experience that may have led to him not getting the type of contract offer he normally would have seen.

Shelby Harris
Shelby Harris (credit: CBS)

"It was different. With this whole coronavirus thing going on, not being able to go visit teams and honestly, I have just been stuck at home the whole time," Harris told CBS4's Michael Spencer. "It was an interesting experience. We didn't get the numbers we were expecting for a multi-year deal. The next best thing is, let's do another one-year, prove it."

Proving himself is nothing new for Harris who has spent the entirety of his five year career in the NFL proving that he belongs. A former sixth round pick of the Oakland Raiders, Harris went from little used in the silver and black to a mainstay of the Broncos lineup over the last three seasons.

In 2019, he posted the best numbers of his career with 49 tackles, six sacks and nine passes defensed. Heading into 2020 with a new one-year $3.3 million deal, he is ready to once again prove his performance wasn't a fluke. And what better place to prove just that than with the team you just posted career best numbers with?

"I feel like that is the epitome of my whole career. It has always been proving yourself," Harris told Spencer. "If you're going to do a one-year prove it deal, you might as well go back to the team where you've been proving it. I just think it was a perfect fit. One more year, if not a couple more. I wanted to come back and finish what we started."

While there is still plenty of uncertainty over how the NFL season will play out, the league remains confident that games will start on schedule. With that in mind, the outlook for the Broncos is one of an improving team, building off a four wins in five game stretch to end 2019. Harris expects that upward trajectory, especially on defense, to continue.

"I think it's about to take a huge jump forward. A lot of the guys are returning. I always have the same thought. Year 1 in your defense is a learning experience. Year 2 is where you begin to play to your potential," said Harris. "I'm excited, it's going to be fun. We added a couple of veteran guys and I just think it is really going to help us out next year."

Denver Broncos v Cincinnati Bengals
Shelby Harris of the Broncos celebrates after sacking Jeff Driskel of the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on Dec. 2, 2018. (credit: John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Now, while the team did add a few pieces to the lineup, there were a few departures as well. For Harris, he'll be missing line-mate Derek Wolfe, who signed a one-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

"I'm happy for him. That's my guy right there. It's bittersweet. Ever since I have been here, Wolfe has been here and he is a Broncos staple," said Harris. "He automatically goes right to a Super Bowl contender, I'm excited for him."

While the hope of an NFL season and return to a sense of normalcy in the sports world is exciting, for now, Harris is just like the rest of us, trying to adjust to staying at home.

"Lot of family time. A lot of (Madden NFL). Just been hanging out trying not to go crazy. It's different. This is usually a time where the kids are at school and we're just sitting around get a little free time," said Harris. "It's not like that anymore. Now I'm trying to figure out this whole online learning thing and trying to help out wherever we can."

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