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Will Harris eager to experience Saints culture | Saints Podcast Rewind

Cornerback joins the Black and Gold after spending five seasons with Detroit Lions

Cornerback Will Harris participated in the team's 2024 OTA practices on May 28, 2024 at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.
Cornerback Will Harris participated in the team's 2024 OTA practices on May 28, 2024 at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.

The food excited him, the proximity to family excited him, but one thing that stuck out to cornerback Will Harris was the culture of the New Orleans Saints.

Harris signed with the Saints on May 1 after spending the first five years of his career with the Detroit Lions.

"I got the call to come here and I was just ecstatic because you hear about the culture of New Orleans, the city and the team," Harris said on the New Orleans Saints Podcast earlier in the offseason. "You hear about the culture, you hear about the way you guys play and how much it means to guys who come here and play. You hear so much about what it means to them and the culture that they've set over the years here."

Harris said from the first moment he entered the Ochsner Sports Performance Center he saw players working.

"You see the way guys interact with each other," Harris said. "You could tell it means a lot to the guys here, man. And the way they work in the classroom, on the field, all the little things, in the weight room, I'm happy to be a part of it and I'm happy to be able to contribute."

Harris played in 81 regular season games with 40 starts and recorded 230 tackles (164 solo), 1.5 sacks, two interceptions, 14 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 16 special teams stops in his time in Detroit.

He played under two former Saints coaches in Lions Coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. Harris said the two coaches aspired to achieve the same defensive success as the Saints had.

"They brought all of those ways of thinking over to Detroit from New Orleans and they were proud to say it," he said.

Harris, 6 feet 1 and 206 pounds, noticed that the Saints have been a top defensive unit in recent history with the team finishing in the top 10 in the league for scoring defense for the last four years and said it just "clicked" when he got the call during free agency.

"I take a lot of pride and I'm super appreciative of the fact that them even picking up the phone, you know what I'm saying, to reach out to me to be a part of something like this and I don't take that lightly at all," Harris said. "And so, my job on my end, I'm coming every day and just work and work and try to contribute as much as I can."

On top of joining a top defensive unit, Harris will be closer to his family, with his father's family being from Biloxi.

"So, it's crazy being here because I still got about 200 unread calls or 200 unread text right now. from all of my cousins on my pop's side," Harris said. "So, they are they are going to be flooding in to the Saints games and stuff like that."

Harris said that much of his family are Saints fans.

"In a sense, it feels like I'm coming home," he said.

Harris brings versatility to the Saints having taken snaps all across the secondary during his NFL career.

"You've got to be locked in mentally throughout the game week," the 28-year-old said. "You have to prepare as if you're going to be three different people. You got to prepare all the way, first, second down, third down, goal line, two minute, whatever. All the phases of the game, you got to prepare that as a safety. Then boom, you got to go back and compare that and prepare it that same way as a nickel. And then some instances, you got to go back again and prepare again as a corner."

Harris started developing that versatility during his years in the secondary at Boston College where he played four seasons (2015-18) for the Eagles, appeared in 50 career games (41 starts) and logged 225 tackles, 12 pass defenses, 7.5 stops for loss, six fumble recoveries, five interceptions and one sack. He joined an Eagles secondary filled with future NFL talent including Issac Yiadom, Justin Simmons and John Johnson III that moved around the defensive backfield.

"So that kind of versatility, that kind of kind of move moving around that was that was something that I was accustomed to back before I even took my first snap in college," Harris said. "My first time visiting, kind of seeing those guys do it, is what made me want to try my hand in it."

Harris said if a team asks a player to switch between multiple positions that they "see something in you."

"So, in my mind, I never wanted to do anything to kind of discredit that trust or to lose that trust from a coaching staff because they saw me as a player who could do this," Harris said. "So, I'm going to do everything on my end that I can to make sure that got my Ts crossed come game day."

Harris said the most memorable moments in his career are crunch-time situations where "you got to go out there and bring the game home and seal the game."

"Those are the times that that I always remember," he said. "And I can remember a bunch of them just throughout my whole playing career. And so, that's one of the things I'm excited to do here, man, because, one thing about this team I've seen over the years, man, when a defense got to go out there and do I mean, they do it. So, I'm excited to be a part of it."

New Orleans Saints announced that they have agreed to terms with free agent defensive back Will Harris on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. Check out Will in action with the Detroit Lions during his NFL career.

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