Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 5/2/13
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- "We want the ball and we're going to score." That infamous line from Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in a 2004 playoff game against the Green Bay Packers led to what many around the state of Wisconsin would likely deem as the most memorable moment in the career of cornerback Al Harris. Three plays after Hasselbeck confidently let his message be heard on the speaker system inside Lambeau Field on that January day, Harris intercepted a pass in overtime and ran it back 52 yards for a game-winning touchdown. More than nine years later, Harris officially retired from the NFL and decided to do so as a member of the Packers. Somewhat surprisingly, though, his interception of Hasselbeck is not the play he remembers most about his time in Green Bay. "It's not on the top of the list," Harris said in a conference call Thursday. "But that was a really great experience, and we moved onto the next round." Harris' most memorable game happened during the 2005 season, a year in which the Packers finished with a 4-12 record that led to the firing of head coach Mike Sherman. It was during that disappointing season in a Week 5 win over the New Orleans Saints that Harris intercepted two passes and returned one of them for a touchdown. "That game may be the highlight of my career," Harris said. Harris last played in the NFL in 2011 for the St. Louis Rams. He spent the majority of his 14-year career in Green Bay, wearing a Packers uniform for seven seasons from 2003-09. During that time, Harris had 14 interceptions and set the franchise record for passes defensed in a single season (28) in 2004. He was also named to two Pro Bowls (2007, 2008). "I think the better part of my years were in Green Bay, so it was just important to me to retire as a Packer," Harris said. Harris chose retiring as a Packer over retiring with the Philadelphia Eagles, where (aside from a practice-squad stint in Tampa Bay) he began his career in 1998 and played five seasons. He ended his career by playing one season with the Miami Dolphins (2010) and one with St. Louis (2011). "I had great experience in Philadelphia and a great experience everywhere else I played, but Green Bay was a special place to play football," Harris said. "When I knew I wasn't going to play anymore, I knew I wanted to retire as a Packer. I got in contact with (general manager) Ted (Thompson) and kind of told him what my plans were and he felt good about it. We just had to find the right timing." Harris wasn't sure if he would be signing a one-day contract with Green Bay or what the exact process was. The team didn't know the specifics, either. Regardless of how it would happen, Harris just wanted it to be with the Packers. "I think I'll always be remembered as a Packer," Harris said. "I feel like a Packer. That's where I'm at with it." Harris isn't actually a Packer anymore. He's now a member of the Kansas City Chiefs' coaching staff, being hired by new head coach Andy Reid earlier this offseason. Harris played four seasons under Reid with the Eagles from 1999-2002. "I reached out to Andy, called to congratulate him when I found out he had the job," Harris said. "I kind of let him know what I was thinking, he kind of let me know what he was thinking and we went from there. He knew what I wanted to do after my playing career was over." Harris was a coaching intern with the Dolphins last season, where he got a chance to find out what it would be like to coach in the NFL full-time. "I was only spending about five-to-six hours more as a coach in the building than I was as a player," Harris said. "Nothing really surprised me. It's a lot of preparation." As a player, Harris was always very aggressive, using press coverage as he matched up outside with wide receivers. It was a physical style that two of his former Eagles defensive coordinators (Emmitt Thomas and Jim Johnson) forced him to play, but it became something that helped define Harris' career. "The whole philosophy of it, as far as press, is to contest the throws," Harris said. "People saw that's what I've done and what I'm good at. It's hard to find guys who can press consistently. You may get a guy who can do it half a game, but to do it the whole game, consistently, year in and year out, it's hard to find those types of guys. "If I would've played more off (coverage) in my career, I probably would've had more interceptions. I wasn't too big on interceptions. They're great, but in press, the coordinator knows and even the opposing coordinator knows he's not going to get a lot of interceptions." Late in his career, Harris knew his time in the NFL was coming to an end. After not missing a single game in his first 10 seasons, Harris started to get banged up frequently. He suffered a serious knee injury in 2009 with Green Bay, a hamstring injury in 2010 with Miami and a torn ACL in 2011 with St. Louis. "I knew I was on the clock," Harris said. "Your body can only take so much. I pushed it to the limit for so long. It was God telling me it's time to turn the page." The Packers will match up with Harris' Chiefs in the preseason finale in Kansas City on Aug. 29. Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
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