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.
Now we're in Week 14 of the season, and we're in great position as a football team. It's been exciting. It's a very exciting ride, man. We're number one in the division, have an opportunity to clinch the division title this weekend. It's been exciting just being a part of this winning feeling.
Coming from three years in college where we had off and on years and ups and downs, this is really my first time in a while being a part of a team that's really been dominant week in and week out and is pretty much one of the top teams in the league. As a defense, we're in the top five of probably almost every major category that the NFL records. That's exciting to me, just being a part of that atmosphere. I think it rubs off from one guy to the next.
Being a rookie, getting to be around a lot of guys who have been in big situations, who've played in Super Bowls and competed for playoff games and division titles, I think just being around guys like that is going to do a lot for me in my future, just seeing the type of mindset those guys have and really getting a feel of what it takes to win and compete at a top level in this league. That's one of the things I've been picking up as I go along through this long season.
The season, it's been long. It's been rough in some ways. Coming out of college, starting as a freshman, playing three years and leaving early and getting drafted in the second round here in Houston, there were a lot of high expectations of myself. I put a lot of high expectations on myself, also. The season's just had a different route for me right now this year. And nothing I've done wrong, it's just we're playing so well right now as a team, as a secondary, the coaches feel like it's a great opportunity for me to just sit back, to learn from all the guys that's in front of me, all the guys that are out there competing every weekend, just take mental notes and learn how to be a pro, learn little things like breaking down film and studying your opponent. They think it's going to help me become a great player in the future.
It's kind of been different for me, but I understand my situation. I understand what's going on, and I've always been a team player. Whatever the team needs to do to get better and to help the team perform well, I'm willing to do that. I know a lot of fans have been out there, they've been requesting me on Twitter. A lot of people want to see me out there. I'm excited that people want to see my play. That's exciting for me. That makes me come to practice every day and work even harder, because I know there's people out there that want to see me on the field. They're asking about me, like 'When we gonna get a chance to see you?' They're excited, and I just want to let them know I'm excited, also. My time is going to come, and when it does, I'll be sure to make it worthwhile.
Other than that, though, everything else is great. Christmas time is coming up. It's going to be exciting. I'll get a chance to spend some time with some of my family one way or the other. I'm not sure if I'll get to go back home for Christmas or if I'll have to bring my family out here, but I've been kind of brainstorming on gifts I want to buy certain people and what I'm expecting in return, or if I should be expecting a gift at all. I'm looking forward to getting to spend that time with my family.
I did Thanksgiving with some teammates. We had a Thursday morning practice and then Coach Kub let us out, and Jason Allen, he invited the DBs to a local homeless shelter. He knew one of the ladies who worked at the shelter and he thought it would be good if we all go over there and just spent some time, so we all went up there as a group.
We got an opportunity just to talk to some of the people, talk to some of the everyday people in Houston, get the feel of some of their struggles as we enjoyed Thanksgiving with them for about an hour or so. We passed about dinners and got a chance to converse with them and tell them a little bit about ourselves and they tell us a little bit about their situations and how much we meant to them, watching us on Sundays go out and compete to the best of our abilities.
That really did a lot for us. Here's people that don't have pretty much anything. A lot of them are homeless, they're living on the streets, and you see people coming in with their children and their kids, whole families coming in there. They can't afford to have a Thanksgiving meal, but with all the things going on in their lives, to still be able to keep in touch with us and see what we're doing on the field, seeing how much it means to them, that was very emotional for us as a group and as just men, just seeing how important a game can be to some people that have so many other struggles, so many other things to worry about. So that was pretty cool. It's always fun to give back and spend some time with people in the community who are less fortunate who are just looking for some help. I'm looking forward to probably doing some of the same things out here for Christmas. I'm pretty sure we'll organize something, we'll get together and we'll be able to give back and make an impact on some lives.
Brandon Harris rookie diary archive 11/11: Bowling, returning to Florida
11/5: Learning, waiting patiently
10/8: Reps increasing
9/23: Trip home to Miami
9/9: Anticipation building
8/26: American Idol dreams
8/19: First game in the books
8/14: Excited for Monday night
8/5: First week of camp