Exclusive Interview with Arizona Cardinals OLB, Chris Harrington

The sixth round of the draft brought Chris Harrington to the Arizona Cardinals and today Harrington stops by Revenge of the Birds for a chat about the past two months, his goals for 2008 and his future in the desert.

 Q - First, since most of us 53354128_mediumhave no idea what the past couple of months have been like for you, how has your life changed since the Cardinals picked you in the sixth round two months ago? I'm sure you got thousands of new friends almost instantly, right?


A - A lot has changed since being drafted by the Cardinals, but thousands of friends, I don't think so. Maybe thousands of fans, but realistically, I don't expect anyone to know who I am in Phoenix. I haven't done anything yet. What I did in college got me to where I am, I have to prove myself all over again. I guess the biggest change has been adjusting to life in the desert. They say that the heat isn't bad, that it's a dry heat. That's true but 115 degrees is still 115 degrees dry or not. It's nice not having the humidity though, coming from Houston.


Q - I saw that you come from a long line of Aggies and that your uncle was a former all-pro NFL player with the Rams, what kind of advice have you gotten from them?


A - The most important thing to me, being an Aggie, was to make them proud. We have a great family legacy at A&M and I wanted to carry that on. The same is true in the NFL. Anyone who knows my uncle or played with him has tremendous respect for the player he was and a greater respect for the person he is. I hope that I can live up to that legacy and make him and my family proud.


Q - I know that you played at linebacker some of the time at Texas A&M, but what part of your game will need to most improvement in order for you to excel as an outside linebacker in Arizona? What area of your game is best suited for standing up and rushing off the edge?


A - I played defensive end during my career at A&M, during some situations I would play a stand up defensive end /olb. I think the biggest challenge for me has been pass coverage. As a D-Lineman you are always rushing, rarely ever dropping into coverage, and when I was I was given a vague responsibility, like cover the flat. Since arriving in Arizona, I have been challenged to learn a whole new position and frame of mind. I didn't know what cover 2 was and had no idea what the secondary was doing. Now I have to know what everyone on the field is doing. It has opened up a whole new world to me and I am enjoying learning a whole new side to the game. I think I am good fit for the defense and the OLB position. I am very good at persuit and flying to the ball and I bring an aggressive mentality that I have from my D-Line days. I have lightened up a bit so I feel faster than I ever have.


Q - The Cardinals seemed to be stacked right now at both outside linebacker and defensive end, but you'll definitely bring some youth to the outside linebacker group. Have you been working solely at outside linebacker during practices so far or are you still taking some snaps at defensive end and what unique trait do you bring to the unit?


A - I have been working at both OLB spots, and yes we have a lot of good players at both spots. I have learned a lot from watching them in practice and from game film. My role right now is to work on developing into a great linebacker and to push these guys to get better and not be complacent. It is a role that I take a lot of pride in. I know that to make this team I am going to have to excel on special teams, and I am prepared to do that. I think one trait that I bring to the group is youth. I am young and hungry. A lot of these guys have been in the league for a while and are used to the life . I'm not, I'm hungry and I'm willing to do things that maybe they're not so willing to.


Q - How much more complex is Clancy Pendergast's 3-4 defense compared to Harrington_medium
the defense that you guys ran at Texas A&M? Is it a defense that you learn completely in a couple of months or will it be a learning process the entire season?


A - In college we made our defensive calls from a wristband. Everyone had one and coach would signal in the call and everyone would read their responsibility. I got used to that so it's been a challenge to go back to hearing a call from the LB and remembering your technique and responsibility. I'm a pretty smart guy, so I have enjoyed the challenge so far.


Q - What are your goals for the 2008 season and what is one thing that Cardinals' fans should know about you that they won't read in any scouting report?


A - Our team goals are winning our divison and making a run in the playoffs. My personal goals are to make the team and contribute to helping the team reach it's goals. One thing that you wouldn't see in any scouting report is that I am a dog lover. I have a chocolate lab named duke and I really miss him when I'm gone. He loves to swim and play fetch and hopefully I'll get to bring him out here soon, although I don't know how much he'll like the desert, the rocks get pretty hot during the summer.

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Many thanks to Chris Harrington, most players don't take the time to answers the questions of a lowly blogger like myself but he was great. Best of luck to him this season and beyond.

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I liked the mention of him dropping some weight. Pendergast's system calls for athletic OLBs and the leaner build should help Chris on defense and on coverage units. I'd never heard of a defense in which every player wore a wristband, anyone else know of another team/defense that does that? Chris also sounds like a guy who knows that his road to NFL isn't complete yet and that he'll have to star in a 'not-so-glamorous' role (namely special teams) before he'll get his crack as a regular starter on defense. In the end, I like his mindset and his dedication to becoming an NFL starter. So what do you guys think?

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