What a long, strange trip it’s been for Napoleon Harris.
Harris was selected by the Raiders as the 23rd overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft out of Northwestern. He quickly found his way into the starting lineup for the next three years before being shipped off to Minnesota as part of the fruitless trade that brought Randy Moss to the East Bay.
Harris spent two years as a Viking before playing one season in Kansas City. After a year as a Chief, Napoleon returned to Minnesota where he started five games at linebacker in 2008.
On Monday, the Raiders brought Harris back home to help fill the void left by the injured Kirk Morrison.
To make room on the roster, the Raiders severed ties with cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. just one week after the former UCLA Bruin arrived in Oakland.
Harris will see field time behind Ricky Brown at middle linebacker as he competes for the chance to make the final 53 man roster.
If history is any indication, Harris would be advised not to get too comfortable with his familiar surroundings. The veteran linebacker was part of the beginning of the end of the modern Oakland Raiders. He started at middle linebacker as a rookie for the Raiders in their Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers then went on to play the next two years that began the string of six straight seasons of 11 or more losses.
Perhaps Harris is the good luck charm returning to recapture the Raider glory he was once a part of. Maybe he’s just another body to keep Morrison’s roster spot warm. Either way, the chances are he won’t be a part of any trade that will bring a future Hall of Fame wide receiver to Oakland again.
If he were, here is one Raider fan who hopes the Houston Texans would be willing to part with Andre Johnson for his services. The reality is he’s probably only worth his weight in Ernest Wilford these days though.
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