Fresh off a Super Bowl win with the Denver Broncos and a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ryan Harris was kind enough to take a few minutes of his offseason to chat with ESPN.com. Harris will battle Alejandro Villanueva in camp for the starting left tackle job.
Here are a few things to know about Harris.
He knows better than to worry about a positional battle: Harris has played eight seasons, and he recalls being projected as the preseason starter in two of them -- 2009 and 2010. Yet here he is with 70 career starts. He has started at least two games in each healthy season since 2008. In 2015, he started in place of the injured Ryan Clady. "I’m used to the competition," Harris said. "I love it. That’s why I’m in the NFL. Pick up a shovel and dig. The focus isn’t on another player or trying to get a spot. My focus will be making it through training camp healthy and proving every day what I can do."
He's an avid reader: Most NFL locker rooms have at least two to three consistent readers, and Harris is always one. He traded books with wide receiver Bennie Fowler during the Broncos' title run. Harris recently devoured the book 'The Monk Who Stole his Ferrari' by Robin Sharma. "The big focus is staying off your feet," Harris said. "Life is different for a 300-pounder."
The Broncos taught him every player is crucial to a title: Whether he starts or plays swing tackle, Harris knows staying engaged and ready to play affects a locker room in a big way. In Denver, all 53 players were eager and unselfish, Harris said. A locker room feeds off that energy. "The feeling of the whole 53 really brings people together," Harris said. "You focus on what you can do. The rest will fall into place."
Every offensive linemen should be doing yoga: Ten years ago, a friend took Harris to a yoga class and he felt weird about it. Now, he believes yoga aids NFL longevity. "It’s good to do something different," Harris said. "Balancing on one leg takes a different kind of strength. About 70 percent of the time you’re on [one] leg for a play."
Harris wanted to play for a contender: Yes, money talks for every player (Harris signed for $3.9 million over the length of the deal). But after tasting a Super Bowl, Harris wasn't ready to regress. "At this point in my career, I’m only playing ball to try to win championships," Harris said. "I think [the Steelers] have a really good chance. It’s an organization that’s meant a lot, not only in football but to board rooms and people all over the country."