Desmond Harrison acknowledged he wasn’t professional enough in his first NFL stop with the Browns, as one too many missteps led to his release last week despite starting eight games as a rookie in 2018.
The Cardinals, who hold the top priority on waiver claims, grabbed the talented second-year tackle off the waiver wire and Harrison hopes to make a better impression on his new team.
“It’s not that I did it on purpose,” Harrison said of missing meetings in Cleveland. “I just have to handle things a certain way. Go about things (differently), communication, all of that. It’s all of those little things.”
The 25-year-old Harrison went undrafted because of off-field issues that included multiple suspensions and a premature end to his time at the University of Texas. He didn’t play football for two years but performed well enough at West Georgia as a junior and senior to get on the NFL radar.
He won the starting left tackle job to begin last season for the Browns but was demoted when coach Hue Jackson was fired. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury is excited about adding the 6-foot-6, 295-pounder to the team.
“He’s a really, really talented offensive lineman,” Kingsbury said. “He started eight games last year as a rookie there in Cleveland. Size, length, great pass protector, so we wanted to see how it goes here.”
The Cardinals are projected to start D.J. Humphries at left tackle and Marcus Gilbert on the right side. However, both have been injury-prone and are in the final year of their contracts.
Harrison seems like an ideal backup option but needs to prove he can be dependable.
“I’ll just show that with my actions,” Harrison said. “My guys are going to hold me accountable, as well as the coaches.”
Harrison has a pair of familiar faces in the locker room to help guide his transition. Cornerback David Amerson and running back T.J. Logan are also from Greensboro, North Carolina. Harrison and Logan met playing on the AAU basketball circuit in high school, and the big man’s athleticism immediately jumped out.
“Any time you’ve got a guy that big with good feet – we can definitely use him,” Logan said.
Despite the past problems, Logan believes Harrison can straighten out with the Cardinals.
“He just has to police himself, and I feel like he’s going to do it,” Logan said. “He’s ready to turn over a new leaf. I’m in his corner. I’m hoping he does well. And I know he will.”
Harrison is excited about the new opportunity. The Cardinals are a young team with a first-year head coach and he hopes to grow alongside the rest of the group.
“A change is not always a bad thing, so I’m good with it,” Harrison said.
Images from the first day of mandatory minicamp