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Thursday, July 21, 2011
Chris Harris touts Steve Smith

ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Bears safety Chris Harris has been working out with former teammate Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers during the lockout, and part of Harris' workout regimen has been as a recruiter.

Smith went to the home of Panthers owner Jerry Richardson late last season and asked to be traded, according to the Charlotte Observer. Harris, who played with Smith in Carolina for three seasons, thinks if the Bears could somehow acquire Smith, it would make sense.

"If the opportunity is there, why not?" Harris said Thursday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "You can never have enough big-time playmakers on your team.

"We have plenty of those on our team now. It definitely wouldn't hurt to have another one."

Smith, 32, is scheduled to become a free agent in 2013. He had his worst full season last year since his '01 rookie campaign, but much of that can be attributed to the Panthers' ineffectiveness at quarterback as rookie Jimmy Clausen was thrown into the fire.

"I've been working out with Steve during this lockout. He's in great shape," Harris said. "He's looking just as good as he's been the previous years, so I'm trying to persuade him a little bit if things can go that way.

"But I think we have great receivers in the system that we have right now. They made that thing work last year in the first year [under offensive coordinator Mike Martz]. I figure in the second year they'll really flourish under that."

Harris tried to encourage Smith by offering to be a tour guide.

"I've heard the rumors. I've heard the rumors of him, the rumors of Santana Moss, I've heard all those rumors," Harris said. "So I've heard that rumor about him and Chicago, and I was messing with him telling him I can show you around the city if you come on down next season."

As far as Smith being a volatile presence in the locker room, Harris said he likes having a scrappy player like Smith on his team.

"He's an excellent guy," Harris said. "I had a chance to play with him for three seasons. He's a guy that wants to win. He wants to win at all costs. He's a competitor. If I was going down a dark alley and a fight was going to break out, I would definitely have him with me. He's one of those scrappy kind of players that you love to have on your team."