Carolina Panthers strong safety Chris Harris is back at it: Creating turnovers again.
After going more than a full NFL season without doing what was once considered his specialty, he said it is about time.
"It was very frustrating," he said earlier this week. "That was one of the things I pride myself on: Turnovers. (But) When they come, they come in bunches."
Harris led the NFL in forced fumbles in 2007 with eight, then had two more in the Panthers' first two games of last season. Except for an interception in the '08 season finale against New Orleans, Harris hadn't been involved in a turnover since.
He has been responsible for two turnovers in the Panthers' past two games, however.
"(After) having a dry spell of a year, it felt good," Harris said of Sunday's game against Tampa Bay, when he intercepted his first pass of the season.
Things turned for Harris in the Panthers' 17-6 loss to the New York Jets on Nov. 29, when Harris knocked the ball from tight end Dustin Keller's hands as he crossed the goal line.
Then, on Sunday against the Buccaneers, Harris intercepted a Josh Freeman pass in the end zone during the fourth quarter - one of five Panthers interceptions in the game.
"I just saw the route that was coming," Harris said of Freeman's pass to receiver Maurice Stovall. "I kind of got in position and was able to get me one."
For a while, Harris was as good as any defender in the NFL at creating turnovers, especially fumbles. In a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2007, he knocked two balls loose. He got off to another quick start last season, forcing fumbles against San Diego and Chicago.
Then it all stopped. Harris has said he doesn't know why, but he's glad he's again helping the Panthers with their turnover ratio, which, at minus-six, is tied for 25th in the NFL.
Although Carolina (5-7) has a league-high 31 giveaways (20 interceptions and 11 fumbles), the Panthers' defense has forced 25 turnovers (17 interceptions, eight fumbles), which is tied for fourth in the league with Buffalo.
"That's one of our goals, three turnovers or more (per game), whether it be fumbles or interceptions," said Harris. "We're starting to do that - a little late, but we're starting to get that done, which is a bright spot on the season."