Dirty Harry able to make sud­den im­pact

The Denver Post - - BRONCOS EXTRA - MARK KISZLA Den­ver Post Colum­nist

He will for­ever be known in Bron­cos Coun­try as Dirty Harry, the man who tried to end the NFL ca­reer of cor­ner­back Chris Har­ris and lived to laugh about it af­ter a 13-10 vic­tory by Ten­nessee that left Den­ver spit­ting mad.

His name is Harry Dou­glas, a 32-yearold wide re­ceiver for Ten­nessee. He pulled a sleeve­less T-shirt over his mus­cu­lar shoul­ders as we stood to­gether Sun­day af­ter­noon in the Ti­tans’ locker room, then chas­tised tele­vi­sion cam­eras for in­ter­rupt­ing our chat by shoot­ing video with­out his per­mis­sion.

“I have on a wife-beater,” ex­plained Dou­glas, nod­ding at his ribbed, white shirt.

He tried to beat the crud out of Har­ris with a vi­cious hel­met-to-knee shot, and re­fused to apol­o­gize.

“I wasn’t try­ing to hurt him,” said Dou­glas, who in­sisted he looked the

Den­ver cor­ner­back square in the eye dur­ing the play that nearly started a riot. “Chris Har­ris had been loaf­ing on the play. That’s what hap­pened. I play to the whis­tle. We looked at each other, head up. Yeah, he saw me. He was just loaf­ing. Don’t loaf.”

In Colorado, Dou­glas is now Foot­ball En­emy No. 1.

“He tried to do some­thing dirty, so that’s why I’m go­ing to beat his (butt),” said Bron­cos cor­ner­back Aqib Talib, who ad­min­is­tered his own vig­i­lante jus­tice on Dou­glas as they wres­tled in front of the Ti­tans’ bench at Nis­san Sta­dium.

In New York City, the NFL of­fice will have to fine Dou­glas for a vi­cious chop block de­liv­ered in the sec­ond quar­ter, or lose any cred­i­bil­ity when talk­ing about the im­por­tance of player safety.

“I ain’t never had a player who just tried to end my ca­reer like that,” Har­ris said. “That was dirty. He should be fined. Foot­ball? That’s not foot­ball.”

In the Bron­cos’ locker room, de­fen­sive line­man Derek Wolfe of­fered to send his home ad­dress to Dou­glas so the veteran Ti­tans re­ceiver could drop by when­ever it’s convenient to set­tle this dis­pute like two cave­men.

“I’m a tough player. I’m a gritty player,” Dou­glas said. “I’m not a dirty player. I don’t care what any­body says. I’ve never been a dirty player.”

Sorry, I ain’t buy­ing it. Dou­glas hit Har­ris with the very def­i­ni­tion of a cheap shot with a lit­tle more than three min­utes re­main­ing in the sec­ond quar­ter. On the very next snap, af­ter Har­ris had limped to the side­line,Talib stood up for his team­mate by go­ing me­dieval on Dou­glas with anger that drew uni­ver­sal praise from chest-thump­ing Den­ver fans but also a 15-yard un­sports­man­like penalty that pushed the Ti­tans into easy field-goal range.

Those who trade in ma­cho malarkey will in­sist Talib’s tantrum woke up the Bron­cos and turned the game’s mo­men­tum. But let’s keep it real. You want vengeance? That’s cool. But don’t seek pay­back right in front of the cops. A 19-play, 74-yard Ten­nessee drive was boosted by the Talib’s knuck­le­head penalty and capped by a 41-yard field goal by Ryan Suc­cop, which staked the Ti­tans to a 13-0 half­time lead with a kick that ul­ti­mately proved to be the dif­fer­ence in the fi­nal score.

“We had a play ear­lier in the game where (Talib) took a cheap shot on me. I didn’t say noth­ing. I didn’t get mad. But he got mad about the Chris Har­ris sit­u­a­tion. And he tried to come at me? Yeah. That’s foot­ball,” Dou­glas told me. “Some peo­ple know how to keep their com­po­sure and be a pro. Some peo­ple don’t.”

Yes, I be­lieved Bron­cos coach Gary Ku­biak when he vowed that the champs won’t go down with­out a fight.

“From the out­side look­ing in, a lot of peo­ple are go­ing to say it doesn’t look good. I’ve been part of a (heck) of lot worse and come out of it. We’re go­ing to keep bat­tling,” Ku­biak said.

Af­ter get­ting punched in the mouth by a Ten­nessee of­fense about a sub­tle as a lead pipe, which blud­geoned the Den­ver de­fense with 42 rushes for 180 yards, the Bron­cos are stuck with five losses on their ré­sumé. They face a daunt­ing re­main­ing De­cem­ber sched­ule, against New Eng­land, Kansas City and Oak­land, whose ag­gre­gate record is 30-8. There’s noth­ing re­li­able in Ku­biak’s of­fen­sive play­book ex­cept some­thing that ap­pears to be drawn in the dirt, with quar­ter­back Trevor Siemian scram­bling for his life while pray­ing that De­mary­ius Thomas finds a way to get open.

Know what re­ally hurts? In a game the Bron­cos re­ally, re­ally, re­ally needed to win, the de­fend­ing Su­per Bowl cham­pi­ons in­stead lost their iden­tity.

No­body in the NFL fears Den­ver any longer.

“I know we’re a phys­i­cal team. I don’t know about them. I know what we are. I know our iden­tity. That’s the way we play the game,” Dou­glas said. “And if you don’t like it, quit foot­ball.”

How sweet would it be to see the Bron­cos back in Ten­nessee for a re­match with Dirty Harry in the NFL play­offs? Now that would make my day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.