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Denver Bronco Chris Harris Runs Fun Camp

Sports Writer

PROFESSIONAL TUTELAGE: Chris Harris of the Denver Broncos with attendees at his summer football camp in Bixby.

ROSSY GILLE for GTR Newspapers

Normally when young football players attend football camps, the coaches will give instructions on basic fundamentals of the game. The only background noise would be whistles blown during drills.

But for former Bixby standout and current NFL All-Pro Chris Harris Jr., the atmosphere is different.

Harris, who now plays for the Denver Broncos, led a camp, the 3rd Annual Underdog Academy, for boys ages eight thru 13 at the Bixby High School Football Field on June 16. Harris, and others assisting him with the program, communicated with the campers through a bullhorn and did it with a unique enthusiasm that got the young men going, making it more enjoyable.

“It’s been fun today,” Harris said. “They’ve been all into it. It’s been a great experience. It’s good to give them something to look forward to every year.”
The camp, which is certainly different than most, had plenty of music, from hip-hop, rap, hard rock, it was all there.  

“We got everything,” Harris says. “From slow-jam to 1980s.

“We try to make it fun, give them some energy,” Harris said. “You give them an extra boost or any type of boost you can get that will help them out and finish this day strong. That’s the message I’m about to send to them now, is finish the day strong. Now we got some competitions right now, and we just have some fun with it.”

How much fun were the boys having? One camper was able to express his view.  
“I enjoy it a lot, 100 percent, says Tawzmin Goff, a 10-year-old who will be in fifth grade this fall at Lanier Elementary School in Tulsa.

“He teaches us how to play football and new moves,” he says. “We got in shape working out and I learned new moves, and we were practicing drills.”

Goff, who plays for the TYAA (Tulsa Youth Athletic Association) Bulldogs, looks forward to taking what he learned from Harris’s camp into the season. When asked, he believed the music in the background was a cool idea.

Harris commented, “We’re giving them life skills, teaching them anti-bullying, giving them competition, just incentives, trophies at the end of camp, MVP’s of the camp. There’s not a lot of things to look forward to when you are a kid. Just to be able to do this every year for them is something they really need. Whenever they get older, hopefully some of them can come back and do camps for (their) kids.”

Harris can see tons of talent in the Tulsa and Bixby area young men.

“You can see there’s guys who have great potential,” he says. “They like to compete, they love to compete, that’s huge. At a young age, some coaches have to install it into (kids), but these kids, they love it. They’re asking, ‘How many more hours do we got?’ I will say we got an hour and they would get mad and say ‘We want to be here all day.’”

Did Harris win any of his campers over to be Denver Broncos fans yet?

“I think so. It’s hard,” he says. “They all got their team, but I know they all cheer for me. I know I’m on TV and I got a fan base that is watching me so I got to go all out and represent them.”

Goff, who was in his second year in the camp, says he has interest in the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and the New England Patriots. Now he has some in the Broncos too.”

In closing, Harris says he isn’t kidding, that in 2017, he’ll be going for back-to-back all-pros.

Updated 07-25-2017

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