Harris Moves into Starting Lineup

Lake Forest – If the writing was on the wall for Mike Green to be demoted, it became carved in stone on Wednesday. Rookie Chris Harris has replaced Green as the starting free safety.

Harris saw 10-15 snaps against Washington in the season opener, but will now be counted to asked a larger role against Detroit.

"It's a little shocking, a little surprising," Harris said of the news that he would start against the Lions. "I mean, I was ready for it just ready to take advantage of the opportunity I'm getting."

The Lions have three first round draft picks at wide receiver, so Harris will quickly be challenged.

"Hey, I'm ready to get out there. I'm anxious," Harris said.

Although Green admitted he knew his job was in jeopardy, he was not pleased with the way the Bears relayed the news. The six-year veteran initially thought that he would be on the sideline for a series two, but he sat out the entire second half.

"Seeing that I am one of the guys that's been here longer, I think as far as our communication it could be a little bit better," Green said. "I just think as far as communicating with the players and the coaches I think we could communicate a little better."

Green started 41 of the last 43 games he played with the bulk of the work at strong safety. The six-foot, 195-pounder made the switch from strong to free safety in the off-season, in what was supposed to be an opportunity for him to take advantage of his ability to play the ball.

However, a 36-yard pass interference penalty on Sunday resulted in a Redskins field goal and negated a 55-yard interception return by Nathan Vasher.

While head coach Lovie Smith wouldn't say the play led to Green's demotion, it certainly played a part in the decision.

"It's just one of the plays. We can't have that," Smith said. "We talked quite a bit about trying to stay away from penalties, but you're going to get pass interference penalties playing aggressive football, that's just a part of it."

GM Jerry Angelo would not comment on whether or not the Bears would put Green on the trade block.

"We're always thinking team-first," Angelo said. "And whatever is in the best interest of the team we're going to do."

Angelo admitted to being surprised by the development of Harris, who fell to the sixth round of the draft. The fact that Harris played against limited competition at Louisiana-Monroe attributed to 180 players being taken before him in April, which gave him something to prove.

"We used to play all the SEC schools for non-conference games and I usually played pretty (well)," Harris said. "That was usually one of my best games compared to regular season conference games. So I feel I'm supposed to be here."

The six-foot, 205-pounder started all 45 contests he played in and was a three-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection. He finished with 352 tackles and 14 interceptions, including seven picks as a senior.

Ironically, Harris relied heavily on advice from Green throughout training camp and the preseason. Now, he will turn to Mike Brown, who will remain at strong safety, for help.

"We've got a veteran back there, I think this is what his sixth year, he knows the ropes in and out so I talk to him," Harris said of Brown.

"Whatever he says, I'm doing it."

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