Harris ready to pay his coaching dues

February, 14, 2013
2/14/13
7:13
PM ET
Chris HarrisMark J. Rebilas/US PresswireGoing from player to coach will take some adjusting for Chris Harris.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The days of Chris Harris being a regular presence on social media are over.

The recently retired safety and current Chicago Bears defensive quality control coach has had little time to interact on Twitter since he began his NFL coaching career a couple of weeks ago. Harris' new job requires him to be at Halas Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., hours that will no doubt increase when the regular season rolls around.

NFL quality control coaches work tirelessly off the field, preparing advance scouting reports, video breakdowns and statistical analysis of future opponents, while assisting at practice whenever possible or necessary.

Harris said Thursday he's ready to begin the next phase of his professional life.

"Being a coach will be something to adjust to," Harris said. "But I don't think the players will view me as a buddy just because I was teammates with a lot of them. I was pretty respected when I played here on the defensive side of the football. I don't see that being a problem. I'm just excited to do this."

There is an appreciation among those in the coaching ranks toward those who chose to start at the bottom and worked their way up, especially recently retired players such as Harris who made a substantial amount of money during their playing careers.

One success story is former Bears linebackers and current Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, who started out as a defensive quality control coach for the Bears in 1997-98 before landing the linebackers job with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1999, a position he held for several years until he returned to Chicago as defensive coordinator in 2004.

"Chris is coming back, not as a guy who is transitioning into an assistant coach … he's coming back to do it the right way," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "He's doing it by doing the tough work. He's got to learn the computer, he's got to learn how to draw plays, and all of that. He wanted to learn to be a coach from the ground up.

"What he gives you with that is that he understands the defense really well and understands what it's like to be a player. I think he'll have the respect of the players because a lot of them know him as a person. I'm excited for him and the start of his football (coaching career) because he wants to do it the right way, and he doesn't feel like he's entitled to have more of a job than he has. He's a great addition as a communicator and the way he understands the defense. He really adds value to our staff."

Jeff Dickerson | email

Chicago Bears beat reporter
Dickerson has been the Bears beat reporter for ESPN Chicago since 2004. He also hosts weeknight radio shows on ESPN 1000.

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