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Proud to See His Growth: How Texans Linebacker Christian Harris Emerged as a ‘Great Player’

Christian Harris’ instincts, anticipation, and aggressiveness took center stage last season as the Texans’ linebacker emerged as an impact player. Harris played a key role in the Texans securing the AFC South championship.

As Harris enters his third NFL season with the Texans, expectations are high for one of the league’s top young linebackers. Known for his speed, clocking a 4.44 in the 40-yard dash, Harris plays with a distinctive edge.

Last season, Harris set a career-high with 101 tackles, learning from coach DeMeco Ryans, a former Pro Bowl linebacker for the Texans and fellow Alabama alum. “For Christian, it was all about confidence,” Ryans said. “Just believing you can make those plays. Once he believed, he took off, making crucial plays for us in key moments.”

Harris became the seventh player in NFL history to record a pick-six and a sack in the same playoff game, matching J.J. Watt’s feat in 2012. In a playoff victory against the Cleveland Browns, Harris notched eight tackles, including two for losses, and returned a Joe Flacco interception 36 yards for a touchdown. He continued his strong performance with seven tackles and constant pressure on Lamar Jackson in an AFC divisional round loss.

With growing confidence, Harris played faster and more decisively. “Instincts are crucial in football,” Ryans noted. “Christian just needed to trust his and play fast. Now, he’s making plays all over the field.”

Harris will now team up with veteran linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who joined the Texans on a three-year, $33 million contract after leading the Tennessee Titans with 163 tackles last season. Texans defensive coordinator Matt Burke praised Harris’ growth and the positive influence of Al-Shaair. “Christian’s development has been enhanced by Azeez’s example. He’s made a big jump this offseason.”

Harris’s second half of the season showed significant growth, culminating in a 12-tackle performance in a win over the Indianapolis Colts that clinched the AFC South title. Despite a slow start, Harris finished the regular season with two sacks, a forced fumble, and seven tackles for losses, playing 71% of the defensive snaps. His performance earned him $524,084 under the NFL’s performance-based pay program.

“Christian has developed tremendously,” Ryans said. “He’s playing faster, more physical, and with more confidence. He’s making impact plays, whether it’s in coverage, tackling, or rushing the passer.”

In his rookie season, Harris, a third-round draft pick from Alabama, recorded 74 tackles, one interception, and a sack in 12 games and 11 starts after returning from injured reserve. His speed and play recognition have impressed the Texans, who are excited about his future.

Harris continues to focus on improving his tackling, a skill emphasized by his college coach at Alabama, Pete Golding. “Run through contact,” Harris said, summarizing his approach.

Signed to a four-year, $5.34 million contract with a $1.069 million signing bonus, Harris has always stood out for his speed and ability to diagnose plays, thanks in part to his track background. “I’ve been running track since I was 5,” Harris said. “My parents coached me, boosting my speed.”

Harris maintains a rigorous recovery routine, including massages, stretching, cold tubs, and soft-tissue therapy. “I try to keep my body fresh and recover quickly,” he said.

Looking ahead, Harris aims to stay strong, fast, and improve his hands for interceptions. “I want to maintain my speed, work on my hands in coverage, and keep my pad level low.”

Harris’ parents are a constant presence at Texans games, supporting him just as they did at Alabama. “Having them at the games means everything,” Harris said. He is represented by veteran NFL agents Rick Roberts, Martin Fischman, Donald Weatherell, and other staff members at Ballengee Football.

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