Originally published on Silver & Black Report on May 10, 2014
The Raiders didn’t add their first defensive end until the seventh round when they selected Shelby Harris with the 235th overall pick.
Harris spoke with the media following his selection. You can read the transcript below:
Q: Did you have an inkling that the Raiders were in on you?
Harris: “I had a feeling, but just to have my name called was a great feeling. Just knowing that it’s official, and I’m part of Raider Nation. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Q: Having not played last year, what were your thoughts going in to this weekend?
Harris: “I knew I had the ability to play, but also with everything that’s happened in the past, you never know. I just left it all up to God and prayed. My prayers were answered.”
Q: Did you watch?
Harris: “Yes definitely, I was watching the whole time.”
Q: Where did you meet with the Raiders?
Harris: “I met with them at the Northwestern Pro Day. I met with [college area scout] Trey Scott, the Raiders scout. What made me respect the Raiders was that he talked to me like a man. After talking a little bit, he said he could tell that I have matured over the years, which I have. I couldn’t ask for a better organization.”
Q: Do you feel like you have something to prove to try to show that you’ve moved on from your past?
Harris: “Definitely. It’s not necessarily something to prove, but to my teammates and to my coaches, I want to prove to them that I’m a better person. I’m not what the papers and everyone says I am. I am a good person with a great background and I’m a great team person, and that’s what’s important.”
Q: What can you tell us about the dismissal from the team?
Harris: “I’m not necessarily going to get into it. I’m just going to say that I made some mistakes and I’ve moved on. I’ve grown from them. In the end, it has made me a better person and made me who I am today.”
Q: Sitting out of football last season, did you have a self discovery during that team?
Harris: “It was heartbreaking. It was going to be my senior year and just knowing that I had been riding it out with those same guys for the last three years, and coming off the season we had, when we went to the playoffs, I was looking forward to my senior year. When everything went down and I was dismissed from the team, it hit me hard. It made me look at myself in the mirror and look at me as a person and think ‘what do I need to change as a person to be successful.’”
Q: Your bio says you weighed 250 your junior year and now it says you weight 288. Have you put on that much weight?
Harris: “I was around 255 my sophomore year. My last year I played, I was around 270-275.”
Q: You were a tackle your last year at Illinois State. Do you project as a defensive end with the Raiders as far as you know? Or did they not get that specific?
Harris: “We didn’t really go over specifics, but honestly, I can play wherever they want me to.”
Q: How did you stay in shape the year you weren’t playing?
Harris: “Well, I went to a community college that had a weight room and basketball helped out a lot. Also, I got a job, just keeping busy. But, I ran, played basketball and worked out every day. So that’s how I stayed in shape. Then, leading up into the draft, I went and trained in Indianapolis at St. Vincent Sports Performance. That’s really what helped me get into that next level, going to Indianapolis and training there.”
Q: What did you do for a job?
Harris: “I was a server at this Italian restaurant.”
Q: Did the tips come out pretty good there?
Harris: “Honestly, I loved the people I worked with. I had a great time working there. The only reason I left was because I wanted to go train in Indianapolis.”
Q: Would you say the teams that spoke to your before didn’t talk to you like a man? What does that mean?
Harris: “It’s not necessarily that they didn’t talk to me like a man. It’s just the fact that I feel like the Raiders organization in general is a very professional organization and everyone that I talked to in the Raiders organization were the most up worthy, classy people I met throughout this whole process. Everyone else I met throughout the process, they were all great people and they were all great organizations, but the Raiders from the beginning made it known that they were interested.”
Q: The Raiders have made it known the last couple of years to say that they want guys of high character. What do you think that says about taking you?
Harris: “I think that shows in general as me as a person how they can tell from talking to me that I am not a bad person. Even though I may have been through a lot, I’m still a good person and I’m willing to work and I am a good player.”