Texans cornerback Brandon Harris, drafted in the second round (60th overall) out of Miami (Fla.), will chronicle his rookie season with periodic diary entries for HoustonTexans.com.*
First of all, there's obviously a lot going on right now at Miami. It's pretty much nothing I can control, nothing I've got a hang on. I just talk to my teammates out there now and tell them to keep their heads up and keep working and everything will work out for the best.
It was exciting to be able to play my first NFL game on Monday – just going through the whole process of going to the hotel with the team, coming to the stadium, seeing all the fans waving to you and applauding on the drive in. You've been in that practice atmosphere a little bit, but the stadium is a completely different atmosphere when you walk in on gameday. Everything is set up so professional, you realize, 'Man, I'm in the league now. This is it.'
Playing against the Jets, it was my first time actually being out there and playing against guys that I've watched on TV for a long time. Just during warm-ups, watching Darrelle Revis, watching Antonio Cromartie – watching players on my team, also – I was like, 'Man, for years I watched these guys play, and now I'm here. This is actually it. I finally made it to this point.' Even though it's the preseason, it was still an NFL game, and it felt good to finally get out there and finally play some snaps. I was able to make a couple of tackles and get my head in there a lot, and I felt good about it after the game.
It was my first time since I don't how long that I've played a game when I didn't have one of my parents there. It was a little different. It was OK, I was adjusting to it, but ever since I've been in little league, I played for my dad in high school, went to college in Miami and they were able to come to all my games. So I was kind of looking around for them when I first got on the field a little bit and then I realized, 'OK, you gotta go play.'
I played a total of 35 snaps. My first couple of snaps, I was out there on the kickoff team. That was my first time being on the kickoff team since I was in high school, and that was exciting. I was able to make a couple tackles on the kickoff team, so those are the plays that really stuck out because I hadn't done it in so long.
When we went back and watched the film, I graded out pretty good. Coach Vance Joseph applauded me on the performance, a lot of things he was proud of. That was actually the best I felt, watching film. Even though you're still working and you still know you've got to continue to get better, hearing it from him and hearing the guys around you was good. It's your first one out; you always want the approval of your teammates. That's always extra motivation.
The short week this week is all a part of being a professional. I see the adjustments that guys make, being able to turn the switch on and off from last week's game to this week. It's a lot of extra studying in a short period of time, but Coach Kub does a great job of designating the proper meeting times and stuff like that and making sure we're getting all the information. That's been the funnest part right now is just going through the process with Coach (Wade) Phillips drawing up game plans. He's real sharp with it, too, so I learn so much just sitting there and listening to him talk and why he's calling this play and why he's doing this.
I'm excited to play against New Orleans. I just want to earn more snaps; continue to at least be put in the position to showcase my talent and show what I can do. It's all about being patient, being a rookie. You have to be patient. It was tough at first coming from the University of Miami where I started as a freshman, started all three years there and coming in here as a rookie and being drafted in the second round and just scratching and clawing. You're starting from the bottom. You have to try to work your way up to a role where you can play. I accept that, so I just choose to go out there and work hard. I just want to keep proving over and over again that I can play in this league and that I can help this team.