Charles Harris wanted to play basketball.
But he also wanted people to know he wasn’t soft.
Flash forward a half-decade, and the once-reluctant gridder is now the newest Miami Dolphin.
He has been working on that move for years. Except he had a round — not oblong — ball in his hands while doing so.
Harris’ first love was basketball, and he was a stud at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy in Kansas City.
In fact, he didn’t even sign up for football until he was a junior.
Why did it take so long?
“I just didn’t play,” Harris said late Thursday. “I was so basketball-driven and so focused that I just didn’t want to play football. But then I got embarrassed and my mind said … The way I am, I’m not going to let that happen, because I don’t want anybody to think I’m weak or I’m soft, so I’m going to pick football.”
Good choice. Missouri recruiters noticed his raw ability, and offered Harris a scholarship.
He took a redshirt year his first season on campus. But once he cracked the Tigers’ lineup, he didn’t leave it.
Harris’ 18 career sacks rank seventh in Mizzou history — and he did that despite playing just three seasons.
“We like the kid’s attitude, his competitiveness,” Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said. “I think from your conference call, you kind of figured out what kind of kid he is. This guy loves football. It is very important to him. When you talk to people around the program and do your work on him, you hear all of the same things.”
Grier continued: “This guy is a gym rat. He loves football; it is very important to him. He is passionate.”
And he doesn’t take kindly to taunts.