New Bills running back Damien Harris is no stranger to Buffalo. He became quite familiar with the Bills while playing against them as a New England Patriot for four seasons.
Harris will now suit up for a new AFC East team that's blue and red but resides in Orchard Park. And the running back can't be more enthusiastic about it as he dropped several, "I'm excited to be here" comments in his introductory press conference on Tuesday night.
What drew Harris to Buffalo was the way the Bills go about their business.
"This is a great organization, from top to bottom, from ownership to the management to the coaching the players, the entire staff," Harris shared. "I feel like the transition into a great organization, it's just obviously so appealing. The trajectory of this organization, kind of the momentum that this team is building, it's all appealing. And it's all something that I wanted to be a part of, and something that I felt like I could come in and help with."
Harris will surely add a boost to the Bills running back room. Last week, general manager Brandon Beane said they wanted to add depth to the RB room and were looking for a "heavier" back that added a different skillset. The GM can check that box with the addition of Harris as he measures in at 5-11 and 213 pounds.
The RB was a third-round selection by the Patriots in the 2019 draft. While he only played in two games his rookie season, Harris made an immediate impact during his sophomore stint. The former Patriot started in 10 games and had 137 carries for 691 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. He also averaged five yards per attempt.
His best season came in 2021 when he started in 15 games and totaled 202 attempts for 929 rushing yards, racked up 15 rushing touchdowns and had 18 receptions for 132 receiving yards.
Another reason why Harris wanted to play for the Bills was because he felt like they brought out the best in him.
"I always said that playing against the Bills, I felt like brought out the best in me as a competitor and as a player," Harris shared. "And from the outside looking in as an opponent if I felt that way then I knew that if I was able to join this organization, I feel like I could just take it to a new height."
Harris is ready to take his game to the next level as he enters his fifth year in the NFL. He believes Buffalo can help him do that because of how he can fit within the offense.
"(I'm) a competitor that is gonna play his butt off, down after down after down," Harris shared. "Not just when he has the ball in his hands, but whatever I have to do, whatever my role is, whatever I have to do to help this team be successful – that's what I'm going to do, first and foremost. From a player's standpoint, I'm a big physical guy, that's a little fast, that can make people miss sometimes. I like to be an all-around back that can do it all.
"So, you're just getting a hard-working guy that's really competitive, that loves to win, and that will do anything that can help this team win."
Scroll for best photos of new Bills RB Damien Harris signing his contract with the team and touring the facility at One Bills Drive on March, 21, 2023.
The RB knows he'll have to earn every rep and every carry. The thought of taking reps with players like Josh Allen is getting him ready to put the work in.
"I know that we've got a great quarterback who can do a lot of things," Harris said. "So just being able to work the run game with the pass game, or be able to play alongside of Josh, Stef (Diggs), Dawson (Knox), James (Cook) and Nyheim (Hines), all these guys – just being able to see what we can all put together. I mean I know that a lot of these pieces have been here for some years now, but I'm definitely excited to come in. I feel like I could be a piece that could definitely help this organization and help it move forward."
Harris played collegiately at the University of Alabama and said his first free agency had a feeling of getting recruited all over again.
"I was definitely excited for free agency just because the idea of it," Harris shared. "Becoming a free agent and then having your pick of teams and having a say as to where you go. It kind of felt like college recruitment all over again."
Harris said he had to fight off thoughts of worrying about what his future would look like, but now that he knows he's a Bill he can really relax.
Since the Alabama product knows all about what an SEC fan base is like and now that he's not a Patriot, he felt like he could finally let the world in on a little secret.
"I can finally say it now, but I love Bills Mafia," Harris said with a grin. "The energy, the enthusiasm, everything that comes with it, I've loved it ever since I came into the league just because I love sports towns and communities that really rally behind their team. I don't know if anyone does that more than Buffalo fans."
Check out the best photos from Buffalo Bills Free Agency 2023 as players sign their contracts, meet with the media and tour the Bills facility.