FOXBORO, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced the signing of veteran free agent Jon Harris today, the former 1997 first-round draft choice of the Philadelphia Eagles. Terms of his agreement were not disclosed.
Harris, 25, was drafted by the Eagles with the 25th overall selection in the 1997 NFL draft. The 6-foot-7-inch, 300-pound defensive end out of Virginia started eight of 24 games in two seasons with the Eagles, recording 73 total tackles and two sacks. On Sept. 1, 1999, prior to the start of the season, the Eagles traded Harris to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for offensive tackle John Michels. Harris was released on Sept. 4, but was re-signed by the Packers on Dec. 7. He was on the squad for three games, but was reported among the team's inactive list prior to each game.
As a rookie in 1997, a preseason illness caused Harris' weight to drop to 264 pounds and forced him to miss the first three games of the season. He started in his NFL debut at Minnesota (9/28/97) and made four consecutive starts before suffering a toe injury vs. Arizona that caused him to miss the next five games. He returned to play in a reserve role for the final four games of the season and finished the year with 23 tackles, including his first career sack vs. Jacksonville's Mark Brunell. In 1998, he bulked up to 300 pounds and played in every game for the Eagles. He started four games, including the last three games of the season, and finished the year with 50 tackles.