EDITOR'S NOTE: 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.
We're almost through the first week of camp, and the transition has been good. I've had some good help from Coach (Vance) Joseph and some of the veteran guys in the defensive back room. But man, it's a lot of information. It's tough when you're coming in from doing nothing in a year like this year. I was working out back home in Miami and doing different stuff, but it is so much different when you're organized and when you get into team training camp and have to learn the playbook and things like that. It moves really, really fast, so that's been the biggest adjustment every night with all the studying.
I was in the weight room lifting weights with Roc Carmichael in the morning yesterday, and I was like, 'Man. It really just hit me that we're in the league now. We're in the NFL.' He was like, 'Yeah, man, it just hit me, too.' When you get drafted it's exciting, but until you actually get out here and put that uniform on, that's when you feel it.
I'm roommates with Roc at the team hotel. It's pretty cool over there. You get a chance to bond with the other rookies and just hang around everybody. We don't really have a lot of time off, so usually it's here, back to the hotel for a nap, come back and then go in for the night. I spend a lot of time in the playbook when I'm here, but I've also found it successful for me, when I'm away, to peek at it for a little bit every now and then but let it sink in. Don't overcrowd yourself with information. Watch TV, call home, talk to your family, talk to you girlfriend and stuff like that. That's been helping me stay level and stay humble and ready to play.
We're definitely getting the 'carry pads' treatment from the veterans. Especially on a day like yesterday. Hundred-degree weather out there, those guys, they don't want to carry their own equipment back inside. But it's all in fun. We do that and then every night we have rookie entertainment where different guys have to get up there and perform and do that kind of stuff. I haven't gone yet, though. I've been dodging and trying to hold out, but I know they'll get me soon enough.
Coming to a team with so many guys from 'The U,' it's special. It feels good. As a rookie coming into camp, you have guys you can lean on, guys you can talk to who just understand where you're coming from, who've been there where you've been. Guys like Andre (Johnson) and Darryl (Sharpton) and Damione Lewis and all those guys. You walk around in the building and see those guys, you see a smiling face, a guy you know, you give them a handshake and it just makes you feel good.
I've known Andre since I was about seven or eight years old, just running around in Miami watching him play, hanging up under him at the parks and stuff like that. Even before I got here, we were back at home in Miami training. He was schooling me on what to expect from the city, what to expect from the team and the staff and how different guys were in the locker room. He's been doing a pretty good job since I've been here, too, of just making sure I'm OK. Just the simple things like asking me, 'How you feeling today?', 'How you feeling out there?', 'Everything alright?' Coming from a guy like that who you're close to, it's like having a family member here.
My locker is right next to Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning's. They've been giving me tips about playing in the NFL, the good and the bad and monitoring that with your family and stuff like that. They're guys who have a lot of experience and they give me a lot of good information. I also get a lot of information from even younger guys, like Kareem Jackson who was a rookie last year, who knows what it's like coming in the league as a rookie, coming from a big-time school, a big-time program and being expected to play and perform early. Some of his insights on that have been really helpful.
Right now in camp, I just want to grasp the information – get to the point where I can play comfortable and know what I'm doing, playing fast, and once the season comes, get on the field. Get on the field the best way possible. Nickel, dime packages; special teams is a big part of our game here. That first step is just getting on the field.
I've been excited about getting to Houston for a long time. I hear the fans are great here. I'm excited to go out there and play for you guys; excited to run out of the tunnel for the first time and look up and hear all the fans screaming and yelling. They always told me since I've been in high school, Texas football is some of the best football in the country. I'm excited to get to experience it.