More than meets the eye
By JASON WILDE
GREEN BAY – Luckily for the Green Bay Packers, DuJuan Harris was an abject failure as a car salesman. It appears his future as an NFL running back is considerably brighter.
After he spent five games in Jacksonville as an undrafted rookie free agent last season – Harris rushed for 42 yards on nine carries in his limited engagement – the Jaguars brought him back for training camp this summer. But they cut him on Aug. 25, and although the Pittsburgh Steelers claimed him on waivers, he was released again on Aug. 31, leaving him out of work for nearly two months, before the Packers signed him to their practice squad on Oct. 24.
Unsure of his football future – although unwilling to give up on his NFL dream – Harris figured he’d better get a real-world job in the interim. A friend got him an interview at the Mercedes-Benz dealership in Jacksonville, but Harris was less than thrilled with one of the job requirements.
“They asked me if I would consider cutting my hair. I was like, ‘No, I know my career in football is not done,’” said Harris, who has long dreadlocks. “If I was at the end of my career and actually needed to work and that was my last resort, then, yeah, I wouldn’t mind cutting my hair. But that wasn’t the case at all. So (I said), ‘No, I’m not going to cut my hair.’”
While Harris said that wasn’t the reason he didn’t get the job, another friend connected him with the local Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge dealership, a football player-friendly workplace that “pretty much hired me right on the spot,” Harris said. While he took mild offense to being asked to take a urine test – “I was like, ‘Really, I have to go take a (urine) test? I’ve got to be clean to do workouts for the NFL,’” Harris said he told his would-be employers – he did it, and got the job.
“I had to wear a shirt and tie,” Harris said. “I was never used to coming to work in a shirt and tie unless it’s for game day.”
It lasted all of a week.
“I didn't sell a (single) car. I came close. I came close a few times,” Harris said with a laugh. “I was doing the business but – I don't want to say I was nervous, but – people would ask me about the cars and I didn't know much about it. I was just like, ‘Man, I'm not going to sell the cars.’”
The way it’s looking as the Packers prepare for Saturday night’s NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field, Harris won’t have to worry about shirt-and-tie gigs for a while.More....