Despite his status as one of the best interior defensive linemen, New York Giants’ Damon Harrison has never been voted to the Pro Bowl.
In his first season with the Giants, he helped the team bounce back from a 7-9 record the previous year to an 11-5 record and the team’s first playoff berth since winning Super Bowl 46.
That season he finished third on the team in tackles with 86, recorded two and a half sacks and had one interception. He was also voted First-Team All-Pro by the Associated Press. Despite being voted to the All-Pro team, he was not voted to the Pro Bowl, which, surprisingly, is an accolade Harrison has never received.
The 29-year-old Harrison is considered one of the best interior linemen in the league by his teammates, coaches and opponents. So it seems unfathomable that in his five seasons in the league, he’s never been voted to the Pro Bowl.
Harrison went undrafted in 2012, but soon thereafter the New York Jets signed him. Although he appeared in five games that season, he did not record a tackle or sack.
He would have a strong 2013 campaign where he had 66 tackles and one sack. His best season as a Jet came in his final season with the team in 2015 when he tallied 72 tackles and helped the Jets to a 10-6 record, their first winning season since 2010. Pro Football Focus named him Second-Team All-Pro that season but he was not voted to the Pro Bowl.
Harrison hasn’t publicly stated that he’s upset or disappointment about being a Pro Bowl snub, but he did voice his disapproval of not being voted to the NFL’s Top 100 Players list after being voted number 96 the year before.
Despite the Giants disastrous 2017 season, in which the team set a franchise record for losses, a strong case could be made that Harrison deserved Pro Bowl consideration. He finished the season with 76 tackles (second most of his career), recorded 1.5 sacks, and came away with the first interception of his career.
Now that we’re in the second week of training camp, Snacks has seemed to put behind the disappointment of last season, and is focused on 2018 and playing for new defensive coordinator James Bettcher.
Recently Harrison spoke about what he enjoys most about the new defense.
“It just takes me back to my first years in the league. It’s kind of like a Rex Ryan type defense. It’s a lot of attacking, it’s not sitting around waiting, trying to read and see the other guys on the offense are doing – it’s playing defense with an offensive mentality, so for the guys like myself and OV and Dalvin and Robert [Thomas], these are the types of systems that we love to play in.”
This year the Giants will play a 3-4 defense where Harrison will be the nose tackle as opposed to playing defensive tackle. He talked about the difference in his responsibility this year as opposed to last year.
“I think it’s just more of an emphasis on attacking one gap and just trying not to two gap, which will be tough for me because I’m a two gapper by nature. Just to get out of that and be able just to run up the field like some of these other guys, that’ll be cool.”
So far, Harrison and the rest of the defense has looked impressive as they’ve clearly held the upper-hand over the offense in practices. Now the question is can they looked as impressive on the field on Sundays when the games count.
If they can, the New York Giants have a good chance of making it back to the playoffs, and Harrison can snag that elusive Pro Bowl selection he so gravely deserves.