LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears veteran safety Chris Harris views the arrival of two-time Pro Bowler Brandon Meriweather in a positive light, despite the fact the former New England Patriots first-round pick could challenge for playing time in the secondary.
"One thing you learn about me, I'm a very confident person, but I think adding a guy of that caliber is excellent for the defense," Harris said. "Competition raises everybody's level of play. When they bring a guy in at your position, I think competition is great. It only makes your level of play better and therefore it's going to make the team's level of play better."
Harris had perhaps his finest NFL season last year after being dealt back to Chicago from Carolina. The safety tied for the team lead with five interceptions and finished second among Bears defensive backs with 96 tackles.
Meriweather intercepted 12 passes in 40 starts over the past three years in New England's 3-4 defense.
"He's a certified playmaker," Harris said. "The guy [has] made plays his entire career. Anytime you can get a guy of that caliber on your roster, I think it definitely makes your team better.'
"I got a chance to talk to him during meetings, and we were sitting in the back just talking about defenses. He seems like a guy who picks it up pretty fast."
Harris' play speaks for itself, however, he is entering the final year of his contract. The safety's impending free agency could be another reason the Bears opted to add Meriweather to the mix. The Bears have opened the season with a new starting safety combination every year since head coach Lovie Smith took over in 2004. The team currently lists Harris and second-year DB Major Wright as its starting safeties.
"It's a business, and the sooner you figure that out in this league the better you will be," Harris said. "At the end of the day, this is a business.'
"Nothing that happens surprises me."