Chris Harris seeks trade from Bears

Updated: October 17, 2011, 4:48 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

Benched, then later placed on the inactive list for the club's win Sunday over the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears safety Chris Harris has requested a trade with hopes the club can move him by the Tuesday trade deadline.

Harris If there's no trade made, I'm still going to be a Chicago Bear, and I'll go to work every day and conduct myself accordingly, the way I should and be professional about it.

-- Bears safety Chris Harris

ESPNChicago.com first reported the news Monday morning, and Harris appeared on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000 later and confirmed the report.

"I requested a trade, I sure did," Harris said. "I don't know if I'll be traded or not. I've definitely requested one, and the trade deadline is tomorrow, so that's a very small window of time, so it's not to say anything is going to be done.

"And if nothing is done, I'll be here in Chicago for the remainder of this season. If my number gets called again, I'll go out there and ball out and it will be what it is."

Harris said if no trade is made, he won't ask for a release.

"If there's no trade made, I'm still going to be a Chicago Bear, and I'll go to work every day and conduct myself accordingly, the way I should and be professional about it," he said. "You can't have hard feelings in this business, because that's what it is, it's a business.

"Decisions are made, and they're not made emotionally. They're made from a business standpoint, and I get that. I understand that. I don't have any beef with the coaching staff. I don't think they have any beef with me. I just think they felt they needed a change, and obviously I wasn't part of that change."

Harris' agent Albert Elias told ESPN that he is glad the Bears decided to let his client seek a trade.

"(Bears general manager) Jerry Angelo and I just got off the phone. He's been a mentor and a father-figure to me. The fact that he's doing the right thing on Chris Harris' behalf by granting us an opportunity to explore a trade goes a long way with us," Elias said. "Lovie (Smith) has to make decisions that are in the best interest of the team and we understand and respect that.

"However, as his agent, I have to do what is right for Chris' best interest, but it has to be the right fit."

Angelo didn't immediately return calls to ESPNChicago.com on Monday.

A seven-year veteran, Harris was a second-team All-Pro in 2010. Harris started the club's season-opening win over the Atlanta Falcons but sustained a pull hamstring toward the end of that contest.

Harris missed the next three weeks recovering before returning to the starting lineup for an Oct. 10 loss to the Detroit Lions. In that game, a missed assignment by Harris resulted in a 73-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson.

Three days later, the team sat down both Harris and two-time Pro Bowler Brandon Meriweather in separate meetings to inform them of plans to go with second-year man Major Wright and rookie Chris Conte in the starting lineup.

Harris expected to play a backup role in Sunday's victory over the Vikings, but just hours before the game was told he'd be placed on the inactive list. Smith said the team made Harris inactive because the safety didn't play a role on special teams.

"It's pretty simple for us," Smith explained. "We have a starting crew. If you're not in the starting lineup, you have to be able to play special teams. We base the rest of those positions on special teams. It's how we've always done it. We'll continue to do it that way. When you say special teams are important, you have to have some guys that you feel like can do the job there. That was the main reason Chris didn't dress."

Harris said it's the first time he's been healthy and inactive.

"I wasn't too happy about it, but that's neither here nor there," Harris said. "It doesn't really matter how I feel. That's a decision they chose to make and they felt it was best for the team."

Smith addressed the media on Monday and said Harris remains part of the team.

"During the course of the season, you can't dress everyone each game," Smith said. "There are some inactive players each week. We make those decisions based on a lot of things.

"In Chris' case, at the safety position, if you're not playing a lot on regular downs, it's about special teams. But that was this week. Things change quickly, almost daily. So yes, Chris is a part of our team. Just like Gabe Carimi, Earl Bennett, guys who were inactive. Things change quickly."

Smith wouldn't discuss the trade request.

"I don't get into too much of that stuff," he said. "Chris was there on the sideline being Coach Harris as much as anything, helping his football team win last night. That's the last time I saw Chris. I don't know a whole lot more than that."

In the final year of a contract signed prior to last season when he took a pay cut, Harris hasn't received any overtures from the club about signing a new deal, leading the veteran to believe he's not a part of Chicago's future plans. Any team acquiring Harris would be responsible for about $700,000 of his $1.095 million salary.

Harris has played in 87 career contests, making 82 starts in seven seasons. Harris has posted 467 career tackles, broken up 25 passes and posted 15 interceptions, in addition to forcing 12 fumbles.

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. ESPN's Josina Anderson contributed to this report.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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