- James Harris (American football)
birthdate=birth date and age|1947|7|20
* Los Angeles Rams (1973-1976)
San Diego Chargers(1977-1981)
Pro Bowl(x1) (1974)
Pro Bowl MVP
* First African American to open a season as the starting quarterback for an NFL team
James Larnell "Shack" Harris (born
July 20, 1947in Monroe, Louisiana) is a former American football quarterbackin the NFL and currently the general managerand vice president for player personnel of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
college footballfor the Grambling State UniversityTigers from 1965 to 1968. Under the guidance of head coachEddie Robinson, Grambling won or shared all four SWAC titles while Harris was a player and he was named MVP of the 1967 Orange Blossom Classic.
Pro Football career
He was drafted in the eighth round of the 1969 draft by the
Buffalo Billsand would soon join fellow rookie O.J. Simpsonin the starting backfield. He was the first black player to start a season at quarterback and was also the second black player to start in any game as quarterbackin the modern era for a professional football team ( Marlin Briscoeof the Denver Broncoswas the first in 1968. Interestingly, a few of Harris's completions in 1969 went to Briscoe, who had been traded to the Bills and converted to a receiver.) After three years with the Bills, "Jimmy" (or "Jim") Harris joined the Los Angeles Ramsin 1972 and became "James" Harris.
A characteristic of all
Chuck Knox-coached Rams teams in the 1970s was a quarterback controversy. Indeed, Harris would split playing time with John Hadl, Ron Jaworski, and Pat Hadenin this merry-go-round. After an up-and-down year in 1976 in which he had the highest passer rating in the NFL (89.8%) and the best individual performance of his career with 436 yards passing in a win against the Miami Dolphins, he was also at the helm when the Rams suffered their first regular season shut out in Los Angeles Coliseumhistory at the hands of a weak San Francisco 49ersteam. Harris spent the last games of the season on the bench. He was selected to the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl for his play during the 1974 season, and was the MVP of the game, played in January 1975.
In early 1977 he was traded to the
San Diego Chargersto make room for Joe Namath(and to free up his #12 jersey for Namath). When he left the Rams he had the highest career completion average of any quarterback in team history (55.4%) and had been an integral part of four straight NFC West Champions. Jolted by the trade and his confidence gone, he played three years for the Chargers without much success and his career petered out at the end of the 1979 season.
Known by friends and family as "Shack", he is currently the vice president for player personnel for the
Jacksonville Jaguars. He has been inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame, the Grambling Athletic Hall of Fame, and Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. He also serves on the NFL subcommittee on college relations.
List of American Football League players
* [http://www.conigliofamily.com/AFL.htm American Football League website]
* [http://www.jaguars.com/Team/Bio/2409.asp Biography provided by Jacksonville Jaguars]
* [http://www.coachingcharities.com/Harris-Williams.html Shack Harris & Doug Williams Foundation]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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