The Green Bay Packers‘ late-season running back sensation, DuJuan Harris, is on the verge of not making the team.
Despite what looked like a bright future for the 5-foot-8, 203-pound running back just a few short months ago, Harris now finds himself facing long odds to find a place on the Packers roster.
Harris has yet to practice with the Packers in training camp. Head coach Mike McCarthy noted that he expects Harris to remain out for two or three more weeks with an unspecified knee injury. This injury comes on the heels of a medical issue that kept him out of OTAs this spring.
He was expected to compete for the Packers’ starting running back job this summer, despite missing offseason practices after surgery to remove a large cyst from his lung.
It appears he has recovered from the surgery, but his most recent knee injury comes at a most unfortunate time. With the arrivals of rookie draft picks Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin, plus the improved health and effectiveness of veterans Alex Green and James Starks, Harris is way behind his competitors for what may be only three running back spots.
At this stage, he is even behind rookie free agent running back Angelo Pease.
It was hard not to admire Harris’ decisive and tough running style in the second half of the Packers’ 2012 season. After suffering through numerous injuries that rendered the Packers running game a revolving door of ineffectiveness, Harris’ arrival was a real shot in the arm for the Packers’ offense. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry for the Packers — tops among the team’s running backs.
Harris has to hope that the Packers brass have long and fond-enough memories of his 2012 contributions to keep him on the team in 2013. Since he has yet to be cleared for practice, he can be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list for the first six weeks of the season. If he remains out for a few more weeks, this may be the only way for Harris to continue wearing the green and gold in 2013.