EDITOR'S NOTE: Texans cornerback Brandon Harris, drafted in the second round (60th overall) out of Miami (Fla.), is chronicling his rookie season with periodic diary entries for HoustonTexans.com.
Last week was pretty amazing. It was a chance to go back to Miami as a professional. I've been in Miami all my life, through youth football, high school, played my college ball there. To go back home as a pro, I felt real good.
It felt good to get a chance to be with my family. My parents came up to the hotel and spent some time with me with my brothers and my cousins and my uncles. We all just spent time sitting back, talking about how a couple years ago the position I was in, when I was a freshman in college just getting to the University of Miami and things like that.
To actually play at the stadium, that was the most interesting part, because I played there when I was in college. The Dolphins share the stadium with the 'Canes, and the visitor's locker room that we were in was the locker room that the 'Canes used when we played there during college. So I had a chance to sit in my old college locker and just think about the things that I've accomplished, and it was a great feeling to walk out there on the field and look around that place and be like, 'Man, I spent three years of college ball here. It was pretty amazing, and it helped me get to the point I am today.'
My locker that I had at Miami was empty when we were there. It's funny, because I sat in there and I just looked around I was like, 'OK, (Sean) Spence's locker used to be right here,' and I just started reminiscing about all my other teammates that were back at Miami – who used to be there, what we used to do, going into the training room, doing this and doing that. I was so used to that being my home, and it felt different being the away team at that stadium.
I grew up about 10 minutes from the stadium, so I got a chance to see not much but a little bit of my neighborhood. I had grown such a relationship with that stadium and that community that I recognized the people on sight, even the workers at the stadium. I recognized them, they recognized me, they wished me luck and we talked to just say hi. Everything about that place was a huge part of me.
This week has been fun. It's going to be a big game. The Saints, they have a great offense. Drew Brees does a lot of things, so it's going to be an opportunity for us to go out and show the type of defense we are. I think we showed some great things in the first two games, but this game, going against a high-powered offense like this, I think it'd be a great time to go out and make a statement.
I've been getting a lot of reps this week in practice, a lot of reps (Editor's note: Cornerback Sherrick McManis is out in Week 3 with a hamstring injury). Should get a great opportunity to play this week, and I'm excited about that. Talked to Coach Kub (Gary Kubiak) and Coach (Wade) Phillips, and they're excited about me getting the opportunity. They both came to me and they talked to me and let me know it's going to be a big week for me; 'This is going to be an opportunity to show what you can do.' So I've been practicing and studying hard. No added pressure – it's fun. This is something I love to do. I'm looking forward to getting out there.
Not playing the first two games, it's definitely been hard. I've never had the experience not playing before. Since high school, since college, I always played and played as a freshman, played my career on through. To get here and kind of have to sit back, I kind of used it as a learning experience. I talked to a lot of guys around the league, a lot of guys who've been in my position and played who are huge contributors on their teams now. They all understand and they're very encouraging. I have my family who's very supportive also, and they helped me realize that, 'You're a rookie. Use this as an opportunity to sit back, watch the game, study, learn. When you get your opportunity to go in there, make plays, earn yourself some more playing time.' So I looked at it like that.
I know a lot of guys take a negative approach, like 'I'm not used to this,' but it's a game. It's just made me work harder and to look up to my teammates more, to ask them, 'How can I get better? What can I do here, what can I do there?' The whole locker room has been supportive of everybody. They want everybody to do well, and I'm looking forward to getting my opportunity this week. I'm very excited.