Napoleon Harris running for Congress

Updated: November 27, 2012, 12:19 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHICAGO -- Former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris is running to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress.

Harris was just elected to the Illinois Senate, but he tells the Chicago Sun-Times that he's been getting overwhelming support for his plan to run for the 2nd Congressional District seat. Jackson resigned last week, citing health reasons.

"I'm running," Harris told the newspaper. "The primary reason I chose to run for the state Senate is the heartbeat and the pulse of my constituents. But over the last few months, we've gotten overwhelming support to put my name in the ring for the congressional seat."

Harris starred at Northwestern and was a first-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2002. He played seven seasons in the NFL with stops in Kansas City and Minnesota as well. He now owns two pizza franchises in the Chicago area.

Harris praised Jackson and says he'd like to continue the work he's done in Congress. The field to replace the 47-year-old Democrat is expected to be crowded.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.