Pre-Team Health Screen: Colts DT Tommie Harris

As the Colts compile their 2011 roster, this series will take a look at the injury history of the players who are new to the team with the goal to provide realistic expectations of the player’s ability to contribute, given their reported health.

The third, and most recent, player added via free agency was DT Tommie Harris, formerly of the Chicago Bears. Harris comes to the Colts with hamstring and knee injuries that Dan Pompei of National Football Post has indicated has degraded Harris’ lower body strength and power.

Harris was healthy throughout college and first 2 years of his pro career, and suffered his first significant injury on December 10, 2006, when he sprained a knee and ruptured a hamstring.  The hamstring required surgery and prevented him from playing in the Super Bowl against the Colts.

The following season, he suffered a Grade II MCL tear in his left knee on September 23, 2007 against the Cowboys.  He had another surgery prior to 2008 season and again in March 2009 to remove scar tissue.

Assessment: Fans should greatly temper their expectations of Harris’ potential to impact games.  Bears Coach Lovie Smith carefully managed Harris’ practice time and playing time on turf, and it would seem that that would be a prudent approach to take by the Colts’ staff as well.  While Harris is a big name, knee and hamstring injuries do not bode well for players who are constantly crouching with their hand in the dirt.