Tommie Harris said he wants to stay with the Chicago Bears even though they benched him for the game against the Green Bay Packers on Monday night.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Tommie Harris said he wants to stay with the Chicago Bears even though they benched him for the game against the Green Bay Packers on Monday night. The three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle gave an emphatic no when asked if he wants to be dealt. "No, I don’t want to be traded," he said after practice on Thursday. "I love Chicago. I love my team. I love my teammates, and I play hard. I play hard for my players, and that’s what I do everytime I’m out there." But if he’s not playing? "That’s not a big deal for me," he said. "It’s all about winning. And when you win, nothing really matters at the end of the day." At 3-0, the Bears are the lone unbeaten team in the NFC. Harris, however, has not come close to his old Pro Bowl level even though he’s practicing more than he has in recent memory after being limited by knee and hamstring problems the past few years. That he was inactive for the Monday night game was "very disturbing," and he’s not sure if he’ll play Sunday, when the Bears visit the New York Giants. Harris said he did not see the benching coming, even though he had just one tackle without a sack through the first two games. "I think I did all right, but I didn’t do ‘Tommie Harris’ good, my standards … a Pro Bowl level, but it will get to that." This wasn’t the first time the Bears benched Harris. He was held out of a game last year and got suspended by the team for one in 2008 because of detrimental conduct, but Smith again indicated on Thursday that the decision this time was based solely on performance. "We haven’t complained about what Tommie’s done as far as trying to get ready for the game each week," Smith said. "A good practice today. We’ll see how it goes." Harris said he "just had to do what was best for the team." When asked if he believed being inactive was in fact the best thing for the Bears, he responded by telling reporters to ask Smith. He gave a similar answer when asked if he knew beforehand that he would be benched. "We tell all of our players a little bit before the game," Smith said. "You don’t have to tell anyone until then. All of our players knew exactly who was going to be up before the game." Asked if he thinks Smith might be losing patience with him, Harris said, "I’m not really worried about that. All I can control is what I can control. Just come in here and be prepared." Does this motivate him? "I don’t need motivation," Harris said. "I’m a grown man. I just come to work." Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)