I'm sure the Detroit Lions have an on-field explanation for why they claimed former Chicago Bears safety Chris Harris on waivers Friday. Whatever it is, however, wouldn't seem as significant as the information Harris could pass along about his former team.
Consider these circumstances:
The Lions already have two young starters at safety who have played relatively well this season. Both figure in the team's long-term plans. I wouldn't think the Lions envision Harris replacing either Louis Delmas or Amari Spievey, although I guess I could be wrong on Spievey.
The Lions opened the season with two veteran safety backups in Erik Coleman and John Wendling. When Coleman was injured and lost for the season, the Lions signed another veteran, Vincent Fuller. But Coleman and Wendling, at least, were both key special-teams players at the beginning of the season. Harris wasn't a part of the Bears' special teams this season.
We should note that Lions special-teams coordinator Danny Crossman was on the Carolina Panthers' staff during Harris' time with that team. Perhaps Crossman thinks Harris could help the Lions in that area.
I wouldn't think Harris would play Sunday against the Denver Broncos, and the Lions have a bye in Week 9. Quite frankly, that gives the Lions two weeks to decide if they think Harris can help them at all before making him a part of their game-day roster. Harris' play in Week 5 against the Lions was a big reason he lost his starting job.
In the meantime, however, it stands to reason that the Lions will do their best to mine everything they can about the Bears. The teams are NFC North rivals and should know each other well, but they're likely to be in a second-half dogfight for a playoff spot. Their second matchup of the season is coming in Week 10 at Soldier Field, and every advantage will help.
Never a dull moment here in the NFC North, is there?