James Harris (American football)

James Harris (American football)

Infobox NFLretired


name=James Harris
|caption=
position=Quarterback
nickname=Shack
number=12
birthdate=birth date and age|1947|7|20
Monroe, Louisiana
deathdate=
debutyear=1969
finalyear=1981
draftyear=1969
draftround=8
draftpick=192
college=Grambling State
teams=
* Buffalo Bills (1969-1972)
* Los Angeles Rams (1973-1976)
* San Diego Chargers (1977-1981)
stat1label=TD-INT
stat1value=45-59
stat2label=Yards
stat2value=8,136
stat3label=QB Rating
stat3value=67.3
nfl=HAR434603
highlights=
* Pro Bowl (x1) (1974)
* 1975 Pro Bowl MVP
* First African American to open a season as the starting quarterback for an NFL team
HOF=
CollegeHOF=

James Larnell "Shack" Harris (born July 20, 1947 in Monroe, Louisiana) is a former American football quarterback in the NFL and currently the general manager and vice president for player personnel of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

College career

He played college football for the Grambling State University Tigers from 1965 to 1968. Under the guidance of head coach Eddie 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 Bills and would soon join fellow rookie O.J. Simpson in 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 quarterback in the modern era for a professional football team (Marlin Briscoe of the Denver Broncos was 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 Rams in 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 Haden in 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 Coliseum history at the hands of a weak San Francisco 49ers team. 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 Chargers to 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.

Personal

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.

ee also

* List of American Football League players
* Jacksonville Jaguars

External links

* [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]

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