Released by the Giants late last month, Harris spent most of the past three seasons as Big Blue’s primary kick returner. Oakland trading Patterson to New England vacated the team’s kick-return job, and Harris will bring extensive experience to that role.
Harris has a notable connection to the Raiders. The former Cowboys return man will be reunited with new Silver and Black special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, Dallas’ ST boss from 2012-17. Harris spent two seasons playing for Bisaccia before signing with the Giants as a free agent in 2015.
While Patterson is a more accomplished return man, with two first-team All-Pro honors on his resume, Harris has extensive seasoning as a dual-threat returner whereas Patterson only returns kickoffs. Harris worked as the Giants’ kick and punt returner for the past three seasons, doing so en route to a Pro Bowl nod in 2016. Harris, who signed a five-year contract to head to New York three years ago, spent most of last season on IR with a broken foot.
Set for his age-31 season, Harris stands to be one of the game’s older return men. He’s notched four career return touchdowns — three on punts, one via kickoff — and has sporadic experience as a wide receiver. Most of that work came for the 2016 Giants, who saw him catch 36 passes for 396 yards and four TDs. The Raiders relied on Patterson as a receiver off the bench last season. He caught 31 passes in his lone Raider season. Harris almost certainly won’t be expected to do that.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.